⚒️Hans Mezger – Face behind the Porsche engines 🛠️

The engineer, also known as the master of the engine, is most often associated with the legendary Porsche 911 engine, not coincidentally his most famous creation. With the German themed weeks currently running at the 365 Oldtimer Museum, it’s worth taking a look at the highlights of the genius engineer’s life and the car that houses one of the main works of his life, often referred to as the Mezger engine.
Mezger was born in 1929 in Ottmarsheim, near Stuttgart. He was attracted to flying as a child and later became fascinated by the world of motor racing when he was able to attend one of the first post-war races at Hockenheim in 1946 and see legendary drivers and racing cars up close. He enrolled at the Technical University of Stuttgart, where he graduated as a mechanical engineer. Even then, he dreamed of working for Porsche. In that time the economy in the FRG was booming, the so-called German economic miracle, so it was relatively easy for young engineers to get jobs. Mezger applied to Porsche in 1956 and was eventually offered a job in the diesel engine development department. He married in 1958 and later had two children. A little later, in 1960, he joined Porsche’s Formula 1 project, fulfilling his ambition to work on sports cars.
After working on the eight-cylinder boxer engine for the Porsche 804 racing car, he was given the opportunity to design the first-generation 911 six-cylinder boxer station wagon engine, introduced in 1963, which became a legend. His career took off from there, as in 1965 he was appointed head of the racing division and tasked with winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1966, the Porsche 910 was completed with a six- and eight-cylinder boxer engine, and this was later used as the model for several new-generation racing cars, such as the 917, whose design was entrusted entirely to Mezger. And the experience gained with turbocharged car was put to good use in the development of the 911 Turbo in 1974. In 1981, McLaren commissioned Porsche to develop a new Formula 1 engine, a project that was also entrusted to Mezger. The TAG Turbo engine was lightweight and produced over 1,000 horsepower. Drivers Niki Lauda and Alain Prost raced cars with this engine, which won world titles for Lauda in 1984 and for Prost in 1985 and 1986. In addition, the engine won 25 victories and two other design awards. Throughout his career, Mezger received numerous offers from other manufacturers, but remained loyal to his first team. He finally retired in 1994, but continued to going out to races and motoring events with the Porsche team, and to took advises the engineers who followed him. Hans Mezger died in 2020, aged 90. His work continues to inspire respect and appreciation in all corners of the automotive industry.

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