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Hans Mezger, the legendary Porsche engineer passed away last June 10, 2020.

Hans is credited for being an instrumental driving force in Porsche’s motorsports success, chief of which is Porsche first sixteen (out of nineteen) overall victories in Le Mans, where his work included a critical part of the cars that won, and to a highly successful partnership with McLaren Formula One team, building the 1000hp 1.5 liter 80-degree V6 TAG Turbo engine designed by Mezger at Porsche, which saw McLaren take the Driver’s Championship in 1984, 1985 and 1986. McLaren also won the Formula One Manufacturer’s Crown back-to-back in 1984 and 1985. The engine would power 25 victories for McLaren during its life.

Hans Mezger started out in Porsche’s Calculations Department, where he devised a complex formula for computing camshaft duration and valve lift without aid of a computer. From there, he moved to the Motorsports Department, designing and building the Porsche 917 Le Mans sports prototype as well as the flat-12 air-cooled engine that powered it, gaving Porsche it’s first of many outright Le Mans wins in 1970 and 1971. The 917 would lead a successful racing career in the North American CanAm Sports Car Racing series. Aside from Le Mans and Formula One, Mezger also pioneered turbocharging for use in production vehicles, delved in Indycar Racing engines, and even designed a 4-cylinder engine for Harley-Davidson while working for Porsche.

Mezger laid the foundation of the venerable flat-six engine which first broke cover in 1963 for the Type 901 sports car which eventually came to be known as the 911. Today’s modern 911 flat-six engines can directly trace its lineage to Hans Mezger’s masterpiece.   

More on the legacy Mezger left at Porsche in the print version of Skid Marks this Wednesday, June 17

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