Legendary Porsche engineer, Hans Mezger, dies aged 90
Hans was the mind behind some of the company’s most iconic products and technologies
Hans Mezger’s contributions to the company, and to the automotive world, cannot possibly be overstated. The 911s iconic six-cylinder boxer engine, the likes of which is still in use today, was Mezger’s design, as was the 917, arguably the greatest racecar ever made. He truly played a huge part in creating Porsche into the technological tour d’force that we know today. However, his beginnings at the company were quite humble. In fact, he started work under the technical calculations department! Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive moments in his illustrious career:
While his beginnings at Porsche weren’t glamorous, before long his talent shone through. He developed a formula for calculating cam profiles and became part of Porsche's first Formula 1 project in 1960. Consequently, he was involved in the development of the 1.5-litre eight-cylinder Type 753 as well as the corresponding chassis of the 804 racecar.
In the early 1960s he designed the engine for the 911. Such was his contribution that it was aptly named the “Mezger engine”. In 1965 he got promoted to the head of the department for race car design. Development for the 917 started in 1968, where principles from the 910 were applied. Mezger was responsible for the overall construction of the 917 and its 12-cylinder engine. The 917 went on to bring home the first overall victory for Porsche at Le Mans. Mezger used the technology from the Le Mans turbocharged racecars, and applied it to roadcars, giving birth to the iconic 911 Turbo.
More impressive perhaps was what happened in 1981. Mclaren’s Formula 1 team needed a powerful turbo engine, and they came to Porsche for assistance. Porsche decided to design and build a completely new engine, as well as to provide on-site support during the races. Mezger was once again the creative genius behind the 1.5-litre, V6 engine with an 80-degree bank angle, producing almost 1000hp! The TAG Turbo engine won a total of 25 races, and two Constructors' World Championships in 1984 and 1985.
Even after his official career came to a close at Porsche, he continued to stay closely connected with the company. He still owned a 911 Carrera 3.0 in Grand Prix white, a favourite among Porsche aficionados and one that has the Mezger engine in it. He was always an approachable figure for journalists, technicians and interested fans at the countless events, trade fairs and festivities he attended with Porsche until the very end.
Team evo India and the automotive community, salutes Hans Mezger for his priceless contributions and unwavering dedication, and hopes his soul rests in peace.