Record updated 28-Sep-06
Erik Comas is a former Formula One driver from France. He was Formula 3000 champion in 1990, after scoring the same number of points as Jean Alesi in 1989 but losing on a count-back of positions. He participated in 63 grands prix, debuting on March 10, 1991. He scored a total of 7 championship points.
Formula One driver from France. He participated in 63 grands prix, debuting on March 10, 1991. He scored a total of 7 championship points.
A French karting champion in 1983, Érik was soon sampling cars, racing a Renault 5 previously driven by Alesi, with which he won the Volant Elf at Paul Ricard, then moving up to Formule Renault as number two to Bernard in 1985. Scoring consistently, he finished second on points to his team-mate but only fourth overall after his lowest scores had been discounted, but he made no mistake a year later.
This led to a seat in the Winfield team in the national Formula 3 series in 1987, but Comas found himself as number two to Bernard once more and was somewhat overshadowed, though he did finish sixth in the final placings. Érik also took the chance to compete in the French Superproduction category, and immensely enjoyed pitting himself against old hands such as Jabouille and Jarier in the powerful 400 bhp machines.
For 1988, he was chosen to lead the ORECA team, normally an absolute guarantee of success in French F3. Comas delivered, but only just, pipping Éric Cheli to the title after a fraught season spent developing the team's Dallara. However, the job was done and once again he followed Bernard on the upward path, joining him in the DAMS F3000 team for the 1989 season. After a slow start, Comas soon shone and by the season's end it was his turn to outshine his team-mate. Two wins at Le Mans and Dijon brought him level with Alesi at the top of the points standings, but Jean was champion by virtue of an extra win. Érik finished the job in 1990; still with DAMS, but now number one driver, he won four of the 11 rounds, and now he was ready for Formula 1.
On paper, a two-year contract with Ligier alongside the experienced Thierry Boutsen seemed to be ideal. The first season with the Lamborghini-engined car would allow Érik a chance to learn the ropes and the second, 1992, with Renault power, would put him in the front rank. The best-laid plans do not always work out, however, and with the team already split into factions, any potential assets it held had been dissipated, while Érik's working relationship with Boutsen was such that they were barely on speaking terms.
For the 1993 and 1994 seasons he found refuge in the Larrousse team, making the best of a car run on very meagre resources. His sixth place at Monza in '93 was a fine achievement, but with the shortage of top seats in Formula 1 and a whole new generation of chargers knocking on the door, Comas had missed his big chance to make it to the very top. Personally he felt that Elf, who do so much for French drivers in the junior formulae, should have insisted that at least one of his compatriots be given an opportunity in a front-running team.
Érik subsequently found employment (and immediate success) driving in the All-Japan GT championship in a Toyota Supra in 1996, which led to an offer by Nissan to race their Skyline GT model alongside Aguri Suzuki in 1997. Comas rapidly became a key member of the NISMO team and was crowned All-Japan GT champion in 1998 and 1999. He has also been involved with the TWR-run Nissan prototype challenge, finishing sixth at Le Mans in 1998 with the R390 and winning the Fuji 1000 Km (with Motoyama and Kagayama) in 1999 with the R391.
After a decent run with Toyota, Erik spent the 2004/2005 seasons with Masahiro Hasemi's privateer Hasemi Sport team, running non-factory Nissan 350Zs in GT500, including inheriting the team's only win (co-driving with Toshihiro Kaneishi) thus far on the evening of December 18, 2004 at the "All-Star 200" exhibition race on California Speedway's combined oval/road course after the unofficial winners were penalized 60 seconds on their finishing time for a pit window infraction. Unfortunately, the race was a non-points scoring event and as such does not count towards the drivers' or team's official win record.
He currently races for former JGTC driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans team owner Masahiko Kondo's all new privateer Nissan 350Z racing team for the 2006 Super GT championship season (formerly JGTC.) He also branched out into rallying, competing in various events around the world. Along with this, he also created Comas Racing Management (CRM), a firm that focuses on the management and development of young up and coming drivers, primarily from his home country of France.
At 5th race of the season at Sportsland Sugo, Comas was replaced with later Pokka 1000km third driver Seiji Ara due to what the CRM website referred on as "ill health." After coming back for the Pokka 1000km, on September 5, 2006, Eric announced on his website that because of his health, he would not compete in the final 3 races of the season.
(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000 and wikipedia.org