To his surprise, Langeveld was approached by Audi Sport last month. His ADAC TCR Germany results had made such an impression that Audi made him an amazing offer. “They offered me a contract as an Audi Sport driver in the FIA WTCR presented by Oscaro. I grabbed it with both hands. I’m a professional racing driver now”, he says with a smile.
Langeveld will join the Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, with the experienced Frédéric Vervisch as his team mate. Both will race the Audi RS3 LMS that is so familiar to Langeveld. “Each manufacturer will field four cars. The other two Audi racecar will be piloted by Jean-Karl Vernay and Gordon Shedden and entered by the Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport – both drivers with an impressive track record in touring cars. The same applies to the FIA WTCR as such, by the way – it has the best touring-car drivers in the world, and it’s a great feeling that I will now be fighting them.”
After 11 years in motorsport, this step has allowed Niels Langeveld to reach the level that he dreamed of as a child. The dream started by playing TOCA on the game console and began to take shape when he joined the Suzuki Swift Cup in 2008. Having taken the series’ crown in 2010, Langeveld showed that he is capable of fighting for the title in every championship in which he subsequently competed. In 2012, he was champion in the Renault Clio Cup Netherlands before landing the 2015 Renault Clio Cup Benelux title. In 2016, Langeveld proved that he was equally capable at an international level by claiming the highly competitive SEAT Leon Eurocup at his first attempt.
In 2017, Niels switched from one-make championships to a multi-manufacturer touring-car series for the first time, taking on more than 40 other touring cars in ADAC TCR Germany. The Audi RS 3 LMS was a very particular choice as Audi hadn’t managed to take a win in any TCR championship. Langeveld changed this by claiming a stunning victory at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben in Germany. That was no coincidence as Langeveld dominated the entire weekend to win again in his home event at Zandvoort.
These were the results that Audi needed, and soon a strong bond developed between Langeveld and the German manufacturer. In his second TCR Germany season in 2018, Langeveld claimed seven podiums and two wins, and finished every race. It speaks volumes for the competitiveness of the series that these results were not enough to lift the crown.
A look at Niels Langeveld’s performance statistics shows that Audi made a considered decision to sign the Dutchman. Langeveld has taken part in 143 races and won no less than 36, a win ratio of over 25%. In over half of the races he ended up on the podium. 40 times he started from pole position.
Herman de Jager has been working closely with Niels Langeveld for ten years, and will join him in the FIA WTCR. It’s a big change for De Jager too – ten circuits around the world instead of seven events close to home. "It’s the crowning glory on our hard work. Fantastic that Comtoyou allows us to continue as a team. Niels and I can say everything to each other, not just if things go well but also if it doesn’t work out. That is important, as we bring out the best in each other – that’s necessary to be able to perform at a top level. I am really looking forward to next season and am curious to see if we can occasionally spring a surprise amongst all those big names. Seeing how Niels has performed so far, it would not surprise me at all", says a proud Herman de Jager about his pupil.
Starting Sunday, February 17, Niels Langeveld will present his own TV show on RTL7, in which he shows what is needed to forge a career in motorsport. "I will be taking the viewer along in my final season in TCR Germany, giving them a unique view behind the scenes", promises Langeveld.
Niels Langeveld is at the beginning of a fantastic new challenge, the highlight of his motorsport career so far. "I would like to thank everyone who has supported me all along for giving me their trust. The people around me know how much I appreciate them, it is a special feeling to know that they believe in me. It’s fantastic that Audi Sport has offered me this unique opportunity. I am sure that I can show some amazing things. My next move is to prepare myself for the first tests in the Audi RS 3 LMS. The season will get going in Marrakech on April 5. It’s my goal to make my presence felt right there", says Langeveld with a combative spirit.