The Subaru World Rally Team has announced the arrival of George Donaldson as sporting director, as it seeks to close the gap on championship leaders Mitsubishi and Ford.

A former team manager at Toyota and Mitsubishi, Donaldson already has a remarkable record of success behind him. He joined Toyota in 1985, and performed various roles before being appointed team co-ordinator in 1992. He was promoted to the position of team manager in 1994, and worked with several world champions, including Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen, Tommi Makinen and Marcus Gronholm. The highpoint of his career with Toyota, however, was overseeing its manufacturers' title in 1999. As a highly regarded driver, he was British National Group N champion in 1988, and won the Group N class on the 1987 Lombard RAC Rally.

"I am delighted to be joining the Subaru World Rally Team," the 42-year old said, "Subaru has a great pedigree in the WRC and a fantastic group of people in place. I relish the challenge that lies ahead."

In the newly-created role, Donaldson will oversee the sporting and non-technical aspects of the team, working with David Lapworth as team principal and technical director. He is expected to take up his position within the next few weeks.

"The WRC is moving forward at a terrific rate and, as a team, we have to continue to invest in the best people available in order to achieve our goals," Lapworth revealed, "George's experience in the WRC speaks for itself and he will be a great asset to us. I am really looking forward to a bright future ahead for everyone involved."

Prodrive's new 'driving experience' project, Prodrivelive has also taken a major step forward with the announcement that John Spiller is to take up the role of event manager. Spiller, who previously held the position of team manager for the Subaru World Rally Team, will take responsibility for all aspects of logistics and event management.