PEOPLE: FRANCOIS CASTAING
Name: Francois Castaing
Born during World War II, Castaing studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Arts et Metiers in Aix-en-Provence before transferring to Paris to finish his studies. While still a student he did research work for Gordini and in 1968 he presented himself at Amedee Gordini's workshops in the Boulevard Victor and asked for work. He was taken on his first job being to work on the engines for the Le Mans 24 Hours that year. At the end of the year he was forced to go off and do his military service and when he returned in the Spring of 1970 Gordini had been taken over by Renault and the whole operation transferred to Viry-Chatillon. Castaing joined Gordini's team and spent most of his time developing the two-litre engines for sportscar racing and for Formula 2 while his colleague Bernard Dudot worked on the development of turbo engines. When Gerrard Larrousse was put in charge of Renault Sport after Gordini retired Castaing was named technical director and under his guidance Renault tot only won the Le Mans 24 Hours but also embarked on its Formula 1 programme. Castaing was the driving force behind the program in the difficult period up to the team's first victory at the French GP in 1979 but at the end of that year was promoted to a key role in the technical management of the American Motor Corporation which was Renault's partner in the United States. By 1982 Renault had taken over and Castaing helped to develop the models aimed at the US market. But in 1987 Renault gave up and AMC was sold to Chrysler, becoming the Jeep/Eagle division of the Detroit firm. Castaing stayed on and in 1988 became head of design for the whole of Chrysler, pioneering the design of new models by organizing design, engineering and manufacturing, into "platform teams".
In 1994 Castaing became the head of Chrysler Powertrain Operations and in 1996 was appointed executive vice president for Chrysler International Operations. After the Daimler takeover in 1997 he became technical adviser to Bob Eaton until 2000 when he left company and joined the board of battery company Exide. In 1998 he became chairman of the Detroit Science Center for the education of future generations.