Porsche Engineering Legend Passed Away at 90
Hans Mezger is quite an important engineer from Germany that worked with Porsche for decades. His eye for engine design had surely helped Porsche earn the name it has today by helping racing teams of Porsche win countless races throughout his career and even after his retirement.
Who is Hans Mezger
Hans was born in 1929 in a Stuttgart village, which is also near where Porsche was founded. He was the youngest of five siblings. After a car race he witnessed in 1946 the boy knew he had to be in this field somehow. So he decided to study mechanical engineering at the place now known as the University of Stuttgart.
During this period the universities were very crowded due to post-was incentives for people returning from the trenches, but he got in nonetheless. During the period after his graduation, Germany was in the process of bootstrapping its economy up. "There were 28, but Porsche was not among them" says Metzger.
Inspired by the Type 356, Mezger wanted to join Porsche, and he did... in the Diesel Engine Department. Mezger, when inquired about his experience told "Until then, I didn’t even know that Porsche had such a thing" about the topic in a lighthearted manner.
The path towards race car engineering
Determined to make a name on the Race Car Department, he climbed the corporate ladders and earned himself a place in the first Formula 1 Development Team of Porsche in 1960.
During this period he learned a lot about combustion chambers of engines which would prove useful later in his career when developing the groundbreaking 6-Cylinder Boxer Engine used in models 901 and 911.
Promotion to the Head of "Race Car Design"
The 1960s was an exciting time for the motorsports community. After Hans designed the cutting edge "Mezger Engine" he was promoted to the Head of Race Car Design Department in 1965.
During these years Mezger and his team put together Ollon-Villars Bergspyder model in 24 days by working in shifts all around the clock. This car served as a blueprint for the 910. The tube frame, fiberglass body, and Formula 1-type tire slot became the blueprint of Porsche race cars through the years to follow.
Gaining traction in the industry
In Le Mans 1968, Porsche earned their first first-place in a race with 917, which was also modeled after 910. Trusted by Ferdinand Piëch, Hans was in charge of the design of this vehicle and its 12-cylinder engine.
910 absolutely dominated the racing scene between the years 1970-1973 at Le Mans and in the World Sportscar Championship.
Mezger's most significant achievement
But his most significant project took off in 1984 when the McLaren team came to them for a turbo engine fit for Formula 1. Porsche was to design a completely new vehicle and provide on-site support for it on the field. Mezger designed the TAG Turbo, a monster 1.5-liter, V6 engine with an 80-degree bank angle which produced more than a 1000 HP. The car earned Niki Lauda world championship in 1984, then in 1985, and you guessed it, then in 1986. The engine saw a total of 25 first places.