VW gets new head of motorsport, step closer to F1?
German car giant Volkswagen has announced that Fritz Enzinger will take over the role of head of group motorsport, replacing Wolfgang Dürheimer.
Enzinger will also continue in his role at Porsche where he oversaw the multiple title winning LMP1 project until the marque announced its decision to pull out of the World Endurance Championship to join the Formula E grid.
The 61-year-old will report directly to VW CEO Matthias Müller with the task of "assessing the current portfolio of works commitments and customers' sports programs in all disciplines and their long-term orientation".
"Our activities in the World Endurance Championship were a good example of the way in which Group brands can spur each other on to peak performance and innovations when competing in the same series," said Enzinger.
"Despite this intentionally competitive situation, there must be a central authority within the Group who can review and assess the commitments of all brands, identify synergies and safeguard the know-how which has been developed for the Group."
VW's various brands, which includes Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, Bentley and Seat, compete in a number of sports car categories including WEC and Blancpain as well as Rallycross, but remains grossly under represented on the motorsport scene given its size.
He added: "The objective will be to align the programs in such a way that they reflect the individual positioning of the Group brands and allow each brand to demonstrate its individual strengths."
Enzinger's responsibilities will also include "organising the use of highly efficient internal combustion engines, hybrid solutions and pure electric powertrains in motorsports."
Is Formula 1 on the horizon?
Whilst VW and its various brands have repeatedly rejected joining the F1 grid, with former boss Dürheimer citing "unstable leadership and rules" as the main reasons, those comments came prior to Liberty Media's takeover which could go some way to alleviating such concerns.
The Volkswagen Group has also been involved in shaping new F1 engine regulations post-2020 and is therefore aware of future plans, whilst at Porsche, Enzinger himself has overseen the development of a "high-performance combustion engine" which meets the current F1 power unit requirements and could be used as a test bed for a 2021 engine, which is roughly based on the current rules.