Herbert Linge is a Living Part of Porsche Racing History
Linge joined Porsche in 1943. Since then, he’s helped produce cars, developed Porsche’s customer service division, and won races.
It’s important to respect your elders. But it’s also important to listen to them. Older people have so much experience that younger generations will never be able to replicate. They also have great stories. They can tell you what it was like growing up when Kennedy was president or what was going through their head when they served in the Vietnam War. Herbert Linge is an interesting elderly gentlemen. He has decades of stories about working – and racing – for Porsche.
According to Porsche Newsroom, Linge’s career with the automaker started in 1943 – back when Porsche was temporarily located in Gmund, Austria. In the above clip, Linge says, “In 1945, when Porsche came back to Stuttgart, I was the first mechanic to start. And when it came time to decide who would test-drive the new cars, I was selected.” As a trained sports car mechanic, Linge was a logical choice for the role – and for lending a hand in the development of the 356.
It was common for Linge to see company founder Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry at work. Linge says, “They never once walked past the apprentices’ workshop without personally greeting us.” Ferry himself sent Linge to the United States to establish Porsche’s customer service division.
As time went on, Linge developed an interest in motorsports. He eventually became a test and development driver, but that was only the beginning of his time behind the wheel of Porsches. Linge secured overall victories at the Liège-Rome-Liège race, the Tour de Corse, and the Nürburgring. He racked up class wins at the Mille Miglia (sixth overall), Targa Florio, and Le Mans, according to Porsche.
Speaking of Le Mans, Linge landed a production role in the classic Steve McQueen movie about the 24-hour race. He drove a 908 as a camera car…and came in 8th place.
Linge was also instrumental in making races safer. He says, “For almost two years, I was at nearly every Formula 1 race as a safety consultant.” In 1972, he founded the ONS mobile emergency/medical team that helped save the lives of racing drivers. His efforts earned him the Order of Merit from the German government.
One of Linge’s biggest contributions to Porsche’s history came from a conversation he had with Ferry Porsche in the late 1950s. Linge told Porsche to relocate the company to his hometown of Weissach because “it was ideally located close to Zuffenhausen and yet was remote enough not to attract too much attention. And of course there was far more space here to build a test track than in the city.”
At 90 years old, Linge is still a diehard Porsche guy. He regularly drives his 1970s 911 Targa and shares his wealth of Porsche knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. If you see him at an event, say hello and start a conversation with him. Then listen.