Volkswagen Motorsport has undergone a restructuring at management level: Sven Smeets will take over as Volkswagen motorsport director on 01 September 2016. He succeeds Jost Capito, who is leaving the company to pursue a new professional challenge with the McLaren-Honda F1 team.
In addition to Smeets’ appointment, Lukasz Urban has taken over as commercial managing director from Kirsten Zimmermann, who moves into a new management role at Volkswagen AG. At the same time, François-Xavier Demaison as technical director and Dr. Donatus Wichelhaus as Director of engine development move up into the Management Board of Volkswagen Motorsport.
As Volkswagen Motorsport director, Sven Smeets is responsible for all of the brand’s motorsport activities, including the top-tier involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The Belgian has been with Volkswagen Motorsport since 2012. He joined the team as team manager in the World Rally Championship and took on the role of sporting director in the middle of 2016.
François-Xavier Demaison also joined Volkswagen in 2012, since when he has been responsible for the technical development of the Polo for the World Rally Championship. As technical director since 01 June 2016, he is now also responsible for all Volkswagen’s other car projects within the field of motorsport. Dr. Donatus Wichelhaus has been a member of the management team since 2005. He took over as director of Engine Development on 01 June, meaning he is now responsible for the development of all Volkswagen engines for motorsport purposes.
“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,” explained 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 continueour 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.”