Sven Smeets will take over as Volkswagen motorsport director following Jost Capito’s departure, it has been announced. As Volkswagen motorsport director, Smeets will now be responsible for all of the brand’s motorsport activities, not only its involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship.
Smeets, who co-drove for Freddy Loix from 1994-2004 and who was also team manager at Citroen from 2008-2011, has been with Volkswagen since 2012. He initially joined the team as team manager in the World Rally Championship, before taking on the role of sporting director in the middle of this year.
“We are delighted to be able to introduce a man with a vast wealth of management experience at the top of Volkswagen Motorsport, in the form of Sven Smeets,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with responsibility for ‘Development’.
“We are confident that we will be able to continue our success story in the World Rally Championship and the strategic development of our motorsport projects with Sven and the rest of the management team at the helm.
“At the same time, we would like to thank Jost Capito, under whose leadership Volkswagen has won every title on offer in the World Rally Championship for the past three years. We wish him all the best for the future.”
Capito, who was named as McLaren’s new CEO back in January and who was at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend (albeit not in team gear), attended his final event as Volkswagen motorsport director earlier this month on Rallye Deutschland.
Meanwhile, VW also confirmed that Francois-Xavier Demaison has now become technical director of Volkswagen Motorsport, and in addition to being accountable for the development of the Polo, will now be responsible for all of Volkswagen’s other car projects within the field of motorsport.
Other changes revealed as part of the management “restructuring”, include Lukasz Urban taking over as commercial managing director from Kirsten Zimmermann, while Dr. Donatus Wichelhaus moves up to become director of engine development at Volkswagen Motorsport.