Stuttgart. The former race and development engineer at
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Hans Mezger, will be celebrating his 80th birthday tomorrow, November 18, 2009. On the subject of this celebration, Porsche development chairman Wolfgang Dürheimer said, “Hans Mezger is one of the most important engineers in our company’s history. For four decades, our racing cars won with engines designed by Hans Mezger and made the Porsche name a synonym for sports performance around the world.”
Hans Mezger was born on November 18, 1929 in Besigheim, Swabia. After graduating from high school and studying machine design, he started at Porsche in 1956, working on engine development. The first of a long series of racing engines designed by him was the 1.5 liter eight cylinder engine used in the Porsche 804 Formula 1 racing car, in which Dan Gurney won the French Grand Prix in 1962. Over the next decade, Hans Mezger’s work ranged from the design of the legendary six cylinder boxer engine for the Porsche 911 to the development of the legendary Porsche turbo engines used in both production and racing cars. One particular highpoint was the air-cooled twelve cylinder engine for the Porsche 917, which produced up to 1,200 horsepower in the 1973 CanAm version.
After developing so many successful racing cars, such as the
Porsche 935, 936 and 956/962 models, Hans Mezger dedicated himself in the early 1980s to one particular customer commission: he designed the “TAG-Turbo made by Porsche” for the British racing team McLaren – a Formula 1 engine that produced up to 1,000 horsepower from a capacity of just 1.5 liters. From 1984 to 1986, the engine produced at the Porsche development center in Weissach dominated the elite class of motorsport and consequently landed three Formula 1 world championship titles.
After more than 40 years at Porsche, Hans Mezger retired in 1994. However, he retained close links with the Porsche brand. He still owns a Porsche 911 Carrera and is always a very welcome guest at the new Porsche Museum. When Hans Mezger visits the racing cars and engines he designed which are exhibited there, history comes alive once more.
Note: Image materials on Hans Mezger is available to accredited journalists from the Porsche Press Database at http://presse.porsche.de/.