Possibly the most important engineer at Porsche has passed away.

Hans Mezger, the man behind the flat-six engines fitted into legendary Porsche 911, passed away last June 10, 2020, at the age of 90. To give you an idea of how important he was at Porsche, without Mezger, there would be no 2.0-liter air-cooled flat-six engine. For reference, this is the same engine used in the original 911. Most fans know him, however, for the water-cooled flat-six used in the 996 and 997 generation 911s, dubbed the “Mezger engine”.

Engineer behind Porsche

Mezger first joined Porsche on October 1, 1956, and initially worked in the calculation department. After rising through the ranks, in 1960, he joined Porsche’s Formula 1 racing program and developed the 1.5-liter air-cooled flat-eight used in the 804. After the program ended, he worked on road cars leading to the development of the Type 901 air-cooled flat-six engine. This engine would end up powering the original 911 and would be the basis for all 911 engines until the water-cooled engine in the 996 was introduced.

Engineer behind Porsche

Aside from the naturally aspirated flat-six engines, he is also highly credited for turbocharger technology at Porsche. He was the first to add twin turbos on the 917’s flat twelve which helped the motor produce well beyond 1,000 horsepower. He later applied the same treatment to 911 motors, which lead to the creation of the first 911 Turbo road car (930) and the 935 racers.

Engineer behind Porsche

While Mezger is known for his development of flat engines, he also worked on other engines during his time at Porsche. He helped build the turbocharged V6 used in McLaren Formula 1 cars under the TAG branding. The TAG Turbo was used in the MP4/2 which won championships in 1984, 1985, and 1986 with Niki Lauda behind the wheel. 

Engineer behind Porsche

“The news of his death represents a very sad loss for us. Our thoughts are with his family. 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,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development.