Porsche mourns Eberhard Mahle

Porsche mourns Eberhard Mahle

The former racing driver and high-performance piston supplier has died at the age of 88


Eberhard Mahle is a name that many DrivesToday readers will be familiar with – not only through the Porsche racing annals, but also because Mahle GmbH has been supplying high-performance pistons to Porsche vehicles for 70 years. The company was founded by Hermann Mahle, and the first Mahle pistons were tested in a Porsche 356 in the early 1950s. The company subsequently became an original equipment manufacturer for Porsche. Hermann’s brother, Eberhard Mahle, enjoyed a long, interesting and historical relationship with Porsche.

Born in 1933 in Stuttgart, Eberhard started riding motorcycles and driving cars as a teenager. In 1954 he began his racing career and bought his first Porsche that same year. In 1959, he finished second in the Targa Florio at the wheel of a Porsche 550 Spyder and in 1960 won the Solitude Rally in a Porsche 356 Super 90. By 1963, he had competed in around 210 races and rallies, driving to six overall wins and over 150 class victories.

After recovering from a serious gokart accident in 1964 that kept him in hospital for 18 months, Eberhard wanted to try racing a 911. He bought a secondhand 1965 911 2.0 with an uprated 165hp engine. Despite a marked power deficit to his rivals who were driving 300hp Fords and Ferraris, Mahle took on his first event at Rossfeld – a track with few bends – and finished third. Other tracks were better suited to the driver and his agile Porsche. “A good driver can compensate for any performance deficit on such tracks,” he said.

In 1966 Eberhard became European Champion, having won regularly in the GT class. The championship saw him become the first driver to take an international title in a Porsche 911. “That was my greatest success,” he recalled. “Especially because all the experts said you will never win it like that.” Eberhard Mahle passed away on 21 December 2021 at the age of 88.

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