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Erik Comas

28th September 1963 (Age 57)
Romans-sur-Isere, Rhone-Alpes
Most recent race (in database):

Erik Comas’s glittering path to Formula 1 included titles aplenty in the junior formulae but that promise was not fulfilled. Fifth was the Frenchman’s best result in 59 Grand Prix starts.

Championship winner as he graduated through the ranks

A smooth and stylish driver, Comas dominated the 1986 Formula Renault turbo series in his first season out of karts. That success was followed by a move to the national touring car series and another title with Sonica’s Renault Five Maxi-turbo. The perfect start to his career was completed when Comas joined ORECA’s crack Formula 3 squad for 1988. He was second in the Monaco support race before narrowly beating Eric Cheli in the French F3 Championship.

Comas graduated to Formula 3000 in 1989 with a DAMS Lola T89/50-Mugen and improved all year. He won the last two races of the season to tie with Jean Alesi in the points with his F1-bound compatriot declared champion due to winning more races. Comas won the opening FIA F3000 race of 1990 and never looked back – scoring a clear championship victory following three more wins for DAMS.

Formula 1 with Ligier and Larrousse

Now in demand, he signed with Ligier for the next F1 two seasons as Thierry Boutsen’s team-mate. However, a testing end-over-end accident was a rare occasion that he stole the headlines. His fortunes were in stark contrast to his career so far and Comas never finished higher than eighth during 1991 with the difficult Lamborghini-powered JS35.

Renault V10 power should have seen driver and team take a significant step forward in 1992 but he clashed with Boutsen in Brazil and Hungary by which time the team-mates hated each other. Comas’ performances – although inconsistent – at least compared a little better than the experienced Belgian. He survived a huge practice accident at Spa’s Blanchimont corner but fifth on home soil and a pair of sixth place finishes delivered his first F1 points and 11th in the 1992 World Championship.

Comas moved to Larrousse for 1993 and 1994 and scored three sixth-place finishes in what was his last opportunity to race at that level. He did test the still-born DAMS F1 chassis but his future was in endurance racing. Twice Japanese GT Champion with a NISMO Nissan Skyline GT-R, he finished second in the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours when sharing a hybrid Pescarolo C60-Judd with Emmanuel Collard and Jules Boullion. He retired from racing a year later and he now runs a driver management company.

Championship seasons