Ford’s Global Performance Vehicles chief and the man largely responsible for developing the all-out-insane Focus RS
, Jost Capito, has left the Blue Oval to head up Volkswagen’s burgeoning motorsports division.
He starts his new role on May 1, 2012, and takes over from Kris Nissen who has been Volkswagen’s motorsports director since 2003.
Capito’s previous stint running Ford’s RS division in Europe, which was largely responsible for Ford’s successful World Rally Championship effort as well as the development of performance cars like the Focus RS, will no doubt prove crucial in his latest role.
Next year Volkswagen is set to do battle in the World Rally Championship with its Polo R WRC car
, and the campaign should benefit from Capito's decades of experience in motorsport. Among other things, he was involved in Formula 1 and was also co-pilot and winner in the truck category of the Paris-Dakar Rally.
The engineering graduate began his career in 1984 as a development engineer for BMW’s high-performance engines. Capito joined Porsche in 1989, first heading the Porsche Carrera Cup Organization and later overseeing all Porsche brand racing championship campaigns. He held executive posts at Sauber Petronas Engineering from 1996 to 2001 and was Chief Operating Officer of the Sauber Red Bull Formula 1 team from 1998.
Capito moved to Ford at the end of 2001 and was influential in the development of several key performance vehicles including the SVT Raptor
pickup truck, the aforementioned Focus RS and the upcoming Focus ST
Interestingly, Capito’s departure from Ford may explain why development of the next-generation Focus RS has been delayed
. The good news is that the only slightly tamer Focus ST is still on track for its U.S. debut later this year.