Mr. Dominique Depons , the
founder of the first test drive organization in the world,
tells us more about it
people it looks a lot less than it truly is. A little ride
in a minibus until the constructor tent, reception and
socializing by the constructor staff followed by a 5
minutes behind the wheel drive and then returning to the
constructor showroom . What clients most of the time ignore,
is that behind all this hides an organization specialized
in test driving and professionals leading these trials
It was during the exhibition
show , 4WD &OUTDOOR SPORTS, held by Sport and partners at
WARDIEH-KFARDEBIAN ,Lebanon from 11-15 August 2010, that
BatoAutoMoto had the chance to benefit from the expertise
of Mr. Dominique Depons , G.M POWERCOM automobile tests.
Being the pioneer in the field, Mr. Depons enriched us with
his valuable information and familiarized us more with his
-Can you tell us briefly
what led you to this career?
I started racing when I was
18 years old. I participated in several races where I became
finalist for “Marlboro “. I even defeated once who later
became to be the famous Formula 1 driver “Jean Alesi”.
Unfortunately my racing career ended shortly following an
accident I had in 1990. I switched to racing in off-shore
boats. I won France championship in 1994 and I participated
in a Middle East championship, in Dubai where I ranked 7th
in 1995 on a boat called ”Tagheuer” . I also participated
in Europe and world championship. Again, an accident on a
boat in Dubai, came to end my career in off-shore boat
racing in 1996. That was when I started my present career in
-How did you start this
As I said I started my
present career at around the same period after I stopped
off-shore boat racing by creating my own organization called
“POWERCOM” and which I still run.
-What does “POWERCOM”
We at “POWERCOM” organize
and assist the car constructors in test driving and
launching their cars. Depending on the specific technical
demand, we recruit professional drivers issued from races .
-What is the idea behind
performing test drives?
Actually, a constructor
knows how to build a car but does not know how to drive it .
It is as simple as that. On one hand, we teach people how to
drive ,and on the other we help the constructor in selling
his car by maximizing the outcome of its technical,
mechanical as well as electronic potential during a test
drive. We create emergency situations in which we help the
client discover the electronic ability and safety system of
-Are there several
organizations in this field?
I was the founder of the
first organization and at the moment there are only four
-Where is “POWERCOM”
I first established the
organization in France , then I expanded it to Europe and
-Is test driving a seasonal
job or do you work all year round?
We are actually busy all
through the year. In winter, we do lots of winter drives in
France and Europe. In summer, we give several sessions in
test driving abroad. It is during June and September , the
periods for car launching , when we mostly work .
-On what brands have you
already worked so far?
I worked with Audi during
the first six years. I presently work for Porsche since
eight years. I have been working for BMW as well for the
last six years. I also work for Honda.
-How do you select your
clients? Do you refuse to work with any constructor at any
Ethically, I refuse to work
for brands that resemble. For example when I worked for
Audi, I refused to work for BMW.
-According to what
criteria is your work evaluated?
According to the commercial
outcome. In other words the number of cars sold.
-What brought you to Lebanon
to participate in this event?
Actually, the manager of
this event, Mr. Tony Moubarak, happens to be a good friend
of mine. I was invited on a personal basis to help with test
drives and I am delegated at VOLVO.
-How can you evaluate this
event which is taking place for the first time in Lebanon?
I am very surprised. I have
already done around twenty outdoor motor shows and I can say
that from an organization point of view , this one ranks
first. I can see this outdoor motor show becoming the motor
show of the Middle East soon. The land is exceptional, the
view is beautiful and the quality of the exhibitors is high.
-In few words, how can you
Volvo is luxury, sport and
-At last, as we heard
some fans ask you ”why do we see several French becoming
I guess it is in our