With Jost Capito headed for McLaren, Volkswagen has named a successor to his position as director of motorsport. And while it was at it, the German outfit has shifted a few other positions in its World Rally Championship team as well.
Rather than bring in someone from the outside as it had with Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport has promoted from within. The top job will now go to Sven Smeets, who has been with the team since 2012, and currently serves as its Sporting Director.
Smeets’ predecessor and previous boss Jost Capito joined Volkswagen in 2012 after a decade running Ford’s racing division, and orchestrated VW’s present dominance of the World Rally Championship.
With his successor in place, Capito is now free to leave for McLaren, where he’ll serve as CEO of the troubled but storied F1 team. Though his responsibilities have yet to be specifically enumerated, he’ll likely take most of the responsibility left over when Martin Whitmarsh was canned, working with racing director Eric Boullier and reporting to group chairman Ron Dennis.
Along with Smeets’ promotion, Volkswagen Motorsport also announced Lukasz Urban to serve as Commercial Managing Director to replace Kirsten Zimmermann who moves to the head office, and named technical director François-Xavier Demaison and engine chief Dr. Donatus Wichelhaus to the racing division’s management board.