Porsche Mourn As Engineering Legend Hans Mezger Passes Away

Hans Mezger
Porsche mourns death of Hans Mezger

Porsche owes him not only the Porsche 911’s air-cooled, six-cylinder boxer engine but also the overall construction of the 917 and its twelve-cylinder engine as well as his creation of the TAG Turbo Formula One engine. For more than three decades, Hans Mezger was responsible for Porsche’s most successful racing cars and engines.

Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development said:
“The news of his death represents a very sad loss for us. Our thoughts are with his family.

“We thank Hans Mezger for his extraordinary engineering achievements, which he has done for motorsport in general and for Porsche in particular. His innovations for our series sports cars will remain unforgotten forever.”

Hans Mezger was born on November 18, 1929, in Ottmarsheim, a small village near Ludwigsburg on the outskirts of Stuttgart. The youngest of five children, his parents ran a country inn. Art and culture were very important to the Mezger household. From an early age, aeroplanes and flying also fascinated the young Hans, and he occasionally undertook a trip to Kirchheim/Teck with a group of gliding enthusiasts from his neighbourhood.

Hans Mezger

Things then began happening one after the other. Hans Mezger gained his first experience with the four camshaft engine Type 547, developed a formula for calculating cam profiles and became part of Porsche’s first Formula 1 project in 1960. He was involved in the development of the 1.5-litre eight-cylinder Type 753 as well as the corresponding chassis of the 804. “On this Formula 1 project, I also learned a lot about the design of combustion chambers.

Connected to Porsche

His commitment to Porsche has made him reject all offers from other manufacturers throughout his career and he still owned his 911 Carrera 3.0 in Grand Prix white – a coveted Porsche classic which has “his” engine. His loyalty and connection to Porsche were unbroken. He was available to journalists, technicians and interested fans as a discussion partner. The Porsche Museum hosted a celebration for his 90th birthday with family, friends and former companions. He accompanied Porsche at events, trade fairs and festivities until the very end.

Hans Mezger Career Highlights

1956–1960 Technical calculation department in the design department. Responsible for valve control of all engines, among other things.
1960–1962 Move to the Porsche Formula 1 project team. Collaboration in the engine and chassis design.
1963 Design of the 901/911 engine. Responsible for design and further development of all racing engines.
1965 Design and project management of the Ollon-Villars Spyder. Management of the newly established department for race car design.
1966–1970 Design of the 910, 907, 908, 917, 2-litre four-cylinder engine for the 914 production sports car.
1971–1973 CanAm race cars 917/10 and 917/30 with turbocharging.
1974–1976 Design, development and further development of six-cylinder turbo engines and the Type 935 and 936 race cars.
1977–1978 Development of the water cooling and four-valve concept for the Type 935 and 936 six-cylinder turbo engines.
1977–1980 Design of the four-cylinder engine for Harley-Davidson. Development of the Indy engine based on the Type 935/936. Further development of the 935/936 race cars and engines.
1981–1982 Development of a 2.65-litre engine based on the 935/936 for Group C (956/962).
1981–1987 Design, overall project management and further development of the “TAG-Turbo – made by Porsche” Formula 1 engine.
1987–1988 Design of the Type 2708 Indy 2.65-litre engine.
1990 Design of the Type 3512 12-cylinder Formula 1 engine

Honours and awards

1974 The Starley Premium Award (GB) for the best automotive presentation of the year on the Porsche Type 917.
1984 Behind the Scenes Award (USA) for the development of the TAG Turbo Formula 1 engine.
1984 Trofeo Colin Chapman (I) for the development of the TAG Turbo Formula 1 engine.
1984 Prince Metternich Prize (D) for outstanding technical achievements in motorsport.
1984 Trophée de L’Exploit (F) for the development of the TAG Turbo Formula 1 engine.
1984 Caschi d’Oro (I) for winning the Formula 1 Constructors’ World Championship (presented to McLaren).
1985 Prof. Ferdinand-Porsche Award (A) of the technical university Vienna in recognition for the accomplishment of developing the combustion engine. Hans Mezger is still the only person from the Porsche company to have won this award.
1987 Médaille Spéciale (F) for the development of the TAG Turbo Formula 1 engine.

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