The legendary racing director shuns the spotlight, but they shined it on him anyway…
For over 30 years Peter Falk was the behind-the-scenes force within Porsche AG, shunning the spotlight. While many fans of the brand might be only vaguely aware of his existence, and of course there are those who know better, even those casually familiar with the success of the brand know of the man’s biggest hits. This is why Porsche issued a nice press release about Falk’s accomplishments, letting everyone know what a debt of gratitude Porsche enthusiasts owe him.
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Falk’s birthday passed on November 27, so right after Thanksgiving here in the United States, meaning many of our readers missed the event. That’s why we wanted to circle back and touch on this even now. The man was such a force behind the meteoric rise of the Porsche brand, it would be a shame to skip the chance to highlight his accomplishments.
Celebrating 90 years on this planet, Falk has much to reflect on from his years at Porsche. After all, under his lead as racing director, the man helped fuel the success of the Porsche 956/962 in Group C 40 years ago, making an indelible impression on motorsport fans young and old as those cars racked up one of the most successful records at Le Mans.
Born in Athens back in 1932, Falk didn’t share his archeologist father’s passion, opting for an apprenticeship as a car mechanic. His love of wheeled transportation lead him to study mechanical engineering, focusing more specifically on automotive technology. At the same time, Falk was gaining experience in motorsports, first placing third in a motorcycle precision contest at age 18, then at 24 acting as co-pilot in his first rally race, which led to a series of victories.
It was in 1959 when he linked up with Porsche as an engineer for the test driving department. By 1964 he moved to pre-series and racing support, leaning on his experience in races to get the 911 and many other legendary Porsches going head-to-head against the best in the world. The man also continued in his role as co-pilot in competitions, eventually developing an intercom system so he could communicate with drivers better.
The list of cars, both racing and consumer, that Falk had a hand in developing and refining during his tenure with Porsche. They range from the 906 to the 917, as well as the mighty 911, 924, and 928. As a rally fan and racer himself, he helped push the brand in that direction, including promoting all-wheel drive along with other rally-focused technologies.
Images via Porsche