Belgian team DG Sport Compétition have confirmed that young Frenchman Aurélien Comte will race one of their brand new Peugeot 308 TCR cars in the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) with Eric Nève joining as Team Manager.
Comte clinched the 2017 TCR Europe Trophy at Adria last year when the event was a single weekend affair, as well as finishing fourth overall in the TCR Benelux series.
Now he will step up from a Racing Cup version of the 308 to a full TCR-specification model as the first of DG Sport’s signings for the new season.
“Having been involved in the development of the two cars, I’m well placed to confirm that my 2018 mount in no way compares with its predecessor,” said Comte. “Engine, chassis, aerodynamics: it boasts an enormous progress in all fields.
“It goes without saying that the Balance of Performance will contribute to levelling out the chances of the different competing models. It might be worth waiting until after the collective tests in Barcelona at the end of the month to draw up a more precise picture of the strengths present. But I’m confident: the Peugeot 308 TCR is well-born and will give its rivals the run around.”
“This is a boy’s dream come true! Following my début in kart, I wanted to try my luck in single-seaters. But I soon worked out the importance of the financial factor and with just as much enthusiasm I focussed on touring car racing and I never missed a televised broadcast of the WTCC. And now I will be confronting guys on the track that gave me a buzz and that I thought were inaccessible… It’s brilliant!
“I’m fully aware that the level will be extremely high and that I will be discovering most of the circuits, but this does not scare me; I know the Peugeot 308 TCR down to the … wheels and I can count on a team I know to be efficient, professional and full of enthusiasm. So, roll on Marrakech!”
Comte will have an experienced hand in the role of Team Manager in 2018, as DG sport have also confirmed Eric Nève in the role. Nève has plenty of experience in touring cars, having previously worked for HWA and overseen the hugely successful Chevrolet campaign in the WTCC.
More recently Nève worked as an advisor to the Eurosport-run WTCC.
“Quite simply I was missing the track,” said Nève. “My job within the organigram of the world championship allowed me to fathom the work of a promoter and as an FIA official, I was involved in the major strategic decisions and regulations, but I had a longing to rediscover the adrenaline and the sensations a race provides within a team.
“I now have this opportunity thanks to DG Sport Compétition and I will be out to offer them a maximum amount of assistance in this new chapter of their path.
“Back in 2005 [with Chevrolet] we were the baby brother in WTCC; our cars struggled up against their rivals and our organisation was not beyond reproach. However, this fragile début did not prevent us later from clinching three consecutive world titles!
“I cannot purport that DG Sport Compétition will follow the same course, even though I obviously wish it… But I do know the team’s qualities created by Christian Jupsin and Alain Georges, and I know what I can bring to them thanks to my experience.
“To excel at the highest level, it is important to look after every detail, to neglect nothing and have a perfect running machine on the grid so that the drivers can give the best of themselves.
“I’m delighted to relive this experience and to bring out … my bow-tie! This deserves a small explanation: at the time of the WTCC I had the habit of wearing a bowtie when one of my guys claimed the pole on the Saturday because I knew that many things could happen the following day during the races, traditionally pretty unsettled.
“Now it’s time to make way for the WTCR with the DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR. And let it be known: I will always have a bowtie in my case!”