He created some of Porsche's greatest engines.
Hans Mezger, the engineer responsible for building some of Porsche's most legendary engines, passed away yesterday (June 10, 2020) at the age of 90. During more than three decades with Porsche, Mezger had a permanent impact on the company's success. He was responsible for the 911's air-cooled six-cylinder engine, the 917's twelve-cylinder engine, the TAG Turbo Formula One engine, and the engines used in some of Porsche's greatest road cars of all time including our personal favorite, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0.
Mezger was born on November 18, 1929, in Ottmarsheim, a German village just outside of Stuttgart. He graduated college as an engineer in 1956 and proceeded to get 28 job offers. "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," Mezger said.
He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming part of Porsche's Formula 1 project in 1960 and helping to develop the 1.5-liter eight-cylinder Type 753 and the chassis of the 804. The knowledge he gained from this project later helped him create the original 901-generation 911's flat-six.
Mezger earned countless honors and awards during his time at Porsche and his legendary engine design remained in production until the end of the 997-generation 911. The 997 was given a final send-off with the GT3 RS 4.0, a car that to this day is considered one of the greatest 911 models ever created. Its 4.0-liter flat-six engine produces 493 horsepower at 8,250 rpm. At the time, this was the most horsepower-per-liter of any naturally aspirated engine.
"The news of his death represents a very sad loss for us. Our thoughts are with his family," says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development. "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."