Francois J. Castaing
- Hall of Fame Inductees
With a degree in engineering, Francois Castaing’s career started in motor sports with Gordini in 1968, working on engines for the 24-Hours of Le Mans races.
After Gordini was taken over by Renault, Castaing advanced to Renault Sport Technical Director. His record of accomplishments with Renault included stints as a member of the racing-engine development team and director of racing programs. On June 10 and 11, 1978, a Renault Alpine A442B beat Porsche and won the 24 Hours of LeMans.
He joined American Motors Corp. from Renault and was responsible for product engineering and development for such vehicles as the downsized Jeep Cherokee SUV.
After AMC’s buyout by Chrysler in 1987, AMC’s Jeep Cherokee product line accounted for a third of Chrysler’s profits. Castaing was quickly named Chrysler Motors' new Vice President for Vehicle Engineering and was called to engineer a variety of products to fit a growing number of market niches.
One of those products was the Viper. Castaing also realigned Chrysler's 6,000-member engineering structure into single platform teams to ensure their products were on target with buyers for features, cost, and quality. Under this concept, the Chrysler LH cars…the Eagle Vision, Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler Concorde, 300M, LHS and New Yorker… were the first to fully use Castaing’s platform approach.
In 1996, Castaing was appointed executive vice president for Chrysler International Operations. Two years later, he became technical advisor to Chairman Bob Eaton until retirement in 2000.
By then, Castaing had become chairman of the New Detroit Science Center, and in1994, he began serving on the Board of Directors for FIRST Robotics.