Porsche mourns the death of Hans Mezger
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG mourns the death of Hans Mezger. The legendary engineer died on June 10, 2020 at the age of 90.
For more than three decades, Hans Mezger was responsible for Porsche's most successful racing cars and engines. 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.
He joined Porsche on October 1, 1956 in the calculation department.
There were 28. But Porsche was not among them. I wanted to join Porsche because the Type 356 sports car inspired me. So I applied, got an interview, and the company offered me a job in diesel engine development. Until then, I didn’t even know that Porsche had such a thing. But I envisioned working on sports cars. They showed understanding and that's how I started in the calculations department at Porsche, said Hans Mezger about his start at the Zuffenhausen sports car manufacturer.
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. “On this Formula 1 project I also learned a lot about the design of combustion chambers. This also directly benefited the design of the 6-cylinder boxer engine for the later 901/911. Ferry Porsche, with his visionary leadership of the company, his human qualities, dignity and great dedication, became my role model. I wholeheartedly shared his philosophy of racing in order to build the best sports car for the road, was impressive and had a lasting impact on myself and my work during the entire period I spent at the company," he reported from that early era at Porsche.
Design of the 911 engine and head of "Race car design"
In 1965 Mezger was promoted to head of the department for race car design initiated by Ferdinand Piëch. This department was the key to a new quality and dynamism in motorsport for Porsche. “Sometimes we also worked around the clock – like in 1965 when we created the Ollon-Villars Bergspyder in just 24 days and shortly thereafter the 910.” With its construction of a tubular frame, fibreglass body and design for new Formula 1 tyre technology, it became the blueprint for all the race cars that were built in the years to follow.
From the 917 to the TAG turbo for Formula 1
With the 917, the first overall victory for Porsche at Le Mans was now finally possible, and once again Ferdinand Piëch relied on the skilfulness of Hans Mezger, who was responsible for the overall construction of the vehicle and its 12-cylinder engine. In 1972 and 1973, and right from the start, the 917/10 and 917/30 showed good responsiveness even on the curvy stretches of the CanAm series, thanks to a novel exhaust turbocharging technology developed by Porsche itself. A technology that makes Porsche a pioneer in this field and Mezger and his team brought to series production in 1974 in the form of the 911 Turbo. Many other victorious developments followed: for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the World Sportscar Championship and the US Indy series.
In the end, Porsche was chosen and the decision was made to design and build a completely new engine, as well as to provide on-site support during the races.
Always closely connected to Porsche
His loyalty and connection to Porsche was unbroken. 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.
Career and highlights at Porsche
1956–1960 Technical calculation department in the design department. Responsible for valve control of all engines, among other things. Collaboration in engine and chassis design.
Honours and awards
1974 The Starley Premium Award (GB) for the best automotive presentation of the year on the Porsche Type 917.
Jun 11, 2020 at 19:23