RE: Jost Capito: PH Meets

Wednesday 6th March

Jost Capito: PH Meets

The head of VW R on why the T-Roc R is better to drive than the Golf, why the Nurburgring matters and why hybrids aren't for him... yet



Jost Capito's CV has something for almost every fan of fast cars and motorsport. There are his early days in Porsche's racing department, the Dakar truck success, the Ford WRC titles (plus Focus Mk1 road car), his time as McLaren Racing CEO and VW's incredible recent dominance of world rallying that he helped mastermind.

Today his role is as the boss of Volkswagen R, bringing cars like the T-Roc R to market. And while that might sound like a more prosaic task than managing the Sauber F1 team (yep, another one to file under 'work experience'), Capito isn't short of an opinion or two. As we discovered in an interview from the passenger seat of a T-Roc R.

Given a certain circuit in Germany is mentioned as key to the T-Roc's development, it makes some sense to start the discussion with the Nurburgring. There'll always be something to say, right? Interestingly, Capito describes it as "important for all cars", but even more so for fast stuff: "For me, a car that is behaving well on the Nordschleife is behaving well everywhere", he says, highlighting the compressions, altitude changes and variety of corners that characterise the track as of imperative value to dynamic work. He even mentions the humble British B-road, clearly playing to a receptive audience of two English journalists; while the circuit doesn't entirely replicate that, he reckons the roads close to the track play a good imitation game.


Moreover, while "definitely not a track car", it's made clear that the T-Roc R must perform; in fact, the brakes "should be capable for lap after lap", which sounds like an excellent feature idea if ever there was one. That said, the understandable T-Roc focus has been on making it enjoyable on country roads, because that's where it's going to be driven for the majority of the time. And, well, given it's meant to be better than a Golf R to drive...

Yep, really. Perhaps not the greatest revelation to find a product boss says the new car is better than an old one, but interesting given the T-Roc's less favourable starting point. It's here though, thanks to increased stiffness, new gearbox and engine mounts, steering tweaks and more: "I believe this car drives better than the Golf R." You heard it here first.

So where does VW R go from a T-Roc? Well, we can expect the range to diversify, albeit into larger vehicles rather than smaller ones - hopes for a fiery Polo R or equivalent Up will have to remain that. Why? Because all-wheel drive isn't in the platform of either, and VW R means all-wheel drive. Furthermore, as is the often way with the viability of performance cars now, the returns are not there when investing in smaller fast cars - shame.


How about a hybrid VW R, then? Four driven wheels, all sorts of exciting torque vectoring possibilities, the environmental benefit... It's not for Jost at the moment, unless city driving legislation dictates the move. Though it is a good question, apparently. "I really do not believe in hybrids for sports cars, because you have the worst of both worlds." Capito's issue is in adding the weight of batteries and motors, which can then only provide maximum power for a limited period.

"You maybe go half a lap and the power is gone. And when the power is gone, you have just the combustion and you still carry the two hundred kilos, which I don't understand on a performance car. So that's why I see the step going to electric; either full ICE, or it's full electric." On which, he believes a fully electrified VW R might not be far off, but it rather depends on a Porsche.

Capito views the upcoming Taycan as the first electric vehicle that car enthusiasts will buy ("all the Tesla drivers I know, they are no car enthusiasts") and, as such, as a product that will inform VW on what people who like driving want from their electric car. "At the moment they [manufacturers] just tell you 0-60 - because that is impressive in electric cars - range, and how long it takes to charge. But none of these three is really what performance cars matter about. They don't tell you about how it drives, they don't tell you about braking distance, the way it handles. So we will see how the people who are car enthusiasts cope with this."


He also mentions the Autobahn; not relevant to the UK, perhaps, but a consideration in Germany where prolonged periods at high speed are more frequent. Electric range then becomes an issue, as does battery temperature and charge time. Sketches and designs are ready, Capito says, but are being sat on for a year or so to see what reaction to the Taycan is like.

Handily, it could tie in with increased VW involvement in World Rallycross, the view shared with us that it's "the ideal motorsport for electric cars." That's because the EV cars will be able to match the current ones for power-to-weight, while also allowing genuinely exciting motorsport in city environments. And wouldn't it be a nice tie-in to have a new EV VW R product enjoy success in World Rallycross? Certainly it seems more likely than VW Formula E involvement, Capito's current issues with the series centring around powertrain freedom - more scope for independent development would increase competition and further the advances made in production vehicles, he believes.

Finally, anyone hoping for the Golf R400 to at last become a production reality should, rather sadly, let it go; not only was that on a Golf 7 platform (with the Golf 8 imminent), extensive research suggested that buyers simply didn't want it. Buyers of fast VWs, the interviews tell them, want around 300hp and less than €50k - so that's what they make. More than 20,000 Golf Rs a year are sold across Europe delivering what those buyers want; Capito suggests only around half of those would want a 400. Oh well. Still, if this T-Roc really is a secret 'ring weapon, then maybe nobody will mind the R400's demise...

Author
Discussion

ogrodz

Original Poster:

74 posts

59 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
Hmmmmm

I purchased a Golf R 310PS last year - manual - before the demise of the manual and a reduction in power output.

I do want an R400 manual - so looks like a Revo stage 1 remap is the way to go.

10,000 remaps a year at £500 a throw - £5Mpa extra revenue - something that VW dealers could be offering to their customers with warranty (as we all know the Golf R engine is good for 400hp as is)??

Edited by ogrodz on Wednesday 6th March 11:14

The Crack Fox

13,300 posts

131 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
Roads near the 'ring like British B road? rofl

Has he ever been to Britain? Public roads around Adenau and the area are all lovely.

'ring developed cars make for crap real-world cars.

What happened with him at McLaren, BTW?

ETA - "'ring weapon". PH, how can you even type that without cringing?

wab172uk

1,223 posts

166 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
So ..... no one wants a 400bhp AWD Golf, but they do want a 300BHP T-Roc? Hmmm rolleyes

Some marketing BS going on there. Audi must struggle to sell it's 400bhp RS3, as no one want a 400bhp AWD hatch.

I would suspect the MK8 Golf R will have at least 350bhp. But it all depends on the Audi S3. As they both produce the same power. Maybe a Golf R+ with near 400bhp to go after the RS3 and next Focus RS.

At least the Focus should have a manual gearbox, so that's where my money will go.

Edited by wab172uk on Wednesday 6th March 12:01

cookington

67 posts

81 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
ogrodz said:
Hmmmmm

I purchased a Golf R 310PS last year - manual - before the demise of the manual and a reduction in power output.

I do want an R400 manual - so looks like a Revo stage 1 remap is the way to go.

10,000 remaps a year at £500 a throw - £5Mpa extra revenue - something that VW dealers could be offering to their customers with warranty (as we all know the Golf R engine is good for 400hp as is)??

Edited by ogrodz on Wednesday 6th March 11:14
If the manual R's clutch is the same as the manual S3 I would also budget for an uprated clutch.

Something the dealer would have to include in the package if they were to offer any warranty.



pacdes

57 posts

100 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
Would not have bought a Golf R, too bland. Would have bought the R400 in an instant. So 10,000 R400 units a year in Europe not enough eh!
VW obviously not about giving the customers what they want then?

Edited by pacdes on Wednesday 6th March 13:03

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wab172uk

1,223 posts

166 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
I now remember an interview Jost Capito did when he was head of Ford RS. He told us then that people didn't want a AWD Focus RS.

This guy seems to have his finger on the pulse !!

V8 FOU

2,596 posts

86 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
The Crack Fox said:
ETA - "'ring weapon". PH, how can you even type that without cringing?
Sounds like a self defense weapon at a Barrymoore pool party.......

Fiesta1.0L

36 posts

37 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
ogrodz said:
Hmmmmm

I purchased a Golf R 310PS last year - manual - before the demise of the manual and a reduction in power output.

I do want an R400 manual - so looks like a Revo stage 1 remap is the way to go.

10,000 remaps a year at £500 a throw - £5Mpa extra revenue - something that VW dealers could be offering to their customers with warranty (as we all know the Golf R engine is good for 400hp as is)??

Edited by ogrodz on Wednesday 6th March 11:14
Golf R400 would be at least £5k more, probably £8-10k more than the vanilla R. It's not just a remap - to pass the warranty tests there will be additional internal mods to the engine, mounts, gearbox, drivetrain, software, brakes, clutch, suspension, wheels, tyres.... and on

Obi Wan

1,929 posts

154 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
Shane about the r400. Golf with a 5 cylinder would have been fun.

ogrodz

Original Poster:

74 posts

59 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
Fiesta1.0L said:
ogrodz said:
Hmmmmm

I purchased a Golf R 310PS last year - manual - before the demise of the manual and a reduction in power output.

I do want an R400 manual - so looks like a Revo stage 1 remap is the way to go.

10,000 remaps a year at £500 a throw - £5Mpa extra revenue - something that VW dealers could be offering to their customers with warranty (as we all know the Golf R engine is good for 400hp as is)??

Edited by ogrodz on Wednesday 6th March 11:14
Golf R400 would be at least £5k more, probably £8-10k more than the vanilla R. It's not just a remap - to pass the warranty tests there will be additional internal mods to the engine, mounts, gearbox, drivetrain, software, brakes, clutch, suspension, wheels, tyres.... and on
There is certainly an ongoing lucrative opportunity here for VW to own the "upgrade" market - which could attract a substantial %age of the 10,000pa customers who would buy upgrades if their warranty was not affected.

As an entry upgrade, it is my understanding that a well tested ECU remap - like the Stage 1 Revo remap - would not require any additional mods and would in effect start that upgrade ball rolling (upping the output by +60PS by all accounts).

The current 7.5 engine is strong - and strong enough for an additional 60PS - I am led to believe.

My manual Golf R just needs that little bit extra - which a remap would achieve.

Welshman Adam

65 posts

151 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
In the US you can take your VW to a VW dealer and they'll install APR software, replacing the factory warranty with an APR warranty that covers engine and gearbox I believe.

Be great if they offered that over here.

leef44

577 posts

92 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
pacdes said:
Would not have bought a Golf R, too bland. Would have bought the R400 in an instant. So 10,000 R400 units a year in Europe not enough eh!
VW obviously not about giving the customers what they want then?

Edited by pacdes on Wednesday 6th March 13:03
Or put it another way: if VW were to sell the R400, they would want to market it as a competitor to the A45 AMG.

So kitted up, they would want to sell it above £50k. There would not be many takers, because people would buy the Golf R and mapped it for much less money and have the same performance as a R400.

So that means there isn't really a market for a R400 (at the price they would want to sell it at).

wab172uk

1,223 posts

166 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
leef44 said:
pacdes said:
Would not have bought a Golf R, too bland. Would have bought the R400 in an instant. So 10,000 R400 units a year in Europe not enough eh!
VW obviously not about giving the customers what they want then?

Edited by pacdes on Wednesday 6th March 13:03
Or put it another way: if VW were to sell the R400, they would want to market it as a competitor to the A45 AMG.

So kitted up, they would want to sell it above £50k. There would not be many takers, because people would buy the Golf R and mapped it for much less money and have the same performance as a R400.

So that means there isn't really a market for a R400 (at the price they would want to sell it at).
Well, by that logic, there would be no RS3 sales as you could buy the much cheaper S3 and remap it. Same for the A45. Just buy the A35 and get it remapped.

VW could build the standard Vanilla Golf R. And then launch an R400 version to take on the A45 / RS3.

leef44

577 posts

92 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
wab172uk said:
Well, by that logic, there would be no RS3 sales as you could buy the much cheaper S3 and remap it. Same for the A45. Just buy the A35 and get it remapped.

VW could build the standard Vanilla Golf R. And then launch an R400 version to take on the A45 / RS3.
Well not quite. Marketing are careful with placing the brands in certain niche.

Golf badge a bit too pricey in that bracket but people will pay that price bracket for an RS badge or AMG badge.

r5kdt

10 posts

124 months

Wednesday 6th March
quotequote all
Great bloke, met him a few times at Dunton while he was at Ford. It was his enthusiasm for the RS brand that brought us the Mk1 Focus RS after a long spell in the wilderness. A great loss to Ford....

ChawenHalo

63 posts

68 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
Isn't it interesting how this dreadful monkey gassing company tries to advertise its way out of trouble. Still complete and utter BS of course. Still make very good looking cars though.

HighwayStar

2,223 posts

83 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
The Crack Fox said:
Roads near the 'ring like British B road? rofl

Has he ever been to Britain? Public roads around Adenau and the area are all lovely.

'ring developed cars make for crap real-world cars.

What happened with him at McLaren, BTW?

ETA - "'ring weapon". PH, how can you even type that without cringing?
Re McLaren.. Capito was hired by Ron Dennis as CEO of the F1 team. His role was unclear after Dennis was ousted from McLaren.

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/moving-on-jost-...




The Crack Fox

13,300 posts

131 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
HighwayStar said:
The Crack Fox said:
Roads near the 'ring like British B road? rofl

Has he ever been to Britain? Public roads around Adenau and the area are all lovely.

'ring developed cars make for crap real-world cars.

What happened with him at McLaren, BTW?

ETA - "'ring weapon". PH, how can you even type that without cringing?
Re McLaren.. Capito was hired by Ron Dennis as CEO of the F1 team. His role was unclear after Dennis was ousted from McLaren.

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/moving-on-jost-...
Ah. Thanks. Interesting stuff.

pacdes

57 posts

100 months

Thursday 7th March
quotequote all
leef44 said:
pacdes said:
Would not have bought a Golf R, too bland. Would have bought the R400 in an instant. So 10,000 R400 units a year in Europe not enough eh!
VW obviously not about giving the customers what they want then?

Edited by pacdes on Wednesday 6th March 13:03
Or put it another way: if VW were to sell the R400, they would want to market it as a competitor to the A45 AMG.

So kitted up, they would want to sell it above £50k. There would not be many takers, because people would buy the Golf R and mapped it for much less money and have the same performance as a R400.

So that means there isn't really a market for a R400 (at the price they would want to sell it at).
Jost Capito stated himself in the article that only 10,000 customers would want an R400, the other half would keep the current R. Who says they would want to seel it for more than £50k you're just surmising. The R400 offered much more than an extra 100hp that could be mapped, Its styling for instance. The R becomes the S3 - R400 the RS.