Walter Naher

Walter Naher studied mechanical engineering and was then hired by the world-renowned Porsche car company, based at Zuffenhausen, near Stuttgart. He joined the elite group of Porsche engineers in 1969 and spent his early years working as a development engineer on the company's famous road cars. This involved experimental work and he developed close links with the company's Research & Development team at Weissach.

In March 1983 Porsche decided that it would expand its Rothmans-sponsored factory team in the World Sportscar Championship to two cars and, needing another engineer, picked Naher to look after the Porsche 956 to be driven by German rising star Stefan Bellof and by British veteran Derek Bell. It was a strong combination and the pair won races at Silverstone, Mount Fuji and Kyalami in 1983, although they were beaten to the Drivers' title by team-mates Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass. In 1984, however, Bellof won the Drivers' World title, engineered by Naher and he followed up in 1985 and 1986 with further titles for Hans Stuck and Derek Bell. Naher also engineered the Le Mans-winning Rothmans Porsche in 1986. It would be Porsche's last season in sportscars as a factory team. The company was in Formula 1 with the TAG engine and was developing an Indycar project as well. In sportscar racing Tom Walkinshaw's Jaguars were proving to be a formidable opponent and the Porsche management decided that it was best to withdraw.

Naher's skills as a race engineer were not forgotten by those who had raced against Rothmans Porsche and 18 months after the team withdrew from F1, Peter Sauber asked Naher to join his increasingly successful Mercedes-backed sportscar team. For the 1990 season Naher engineered the Sauber-Mercedes C9 of Jean-Louis Schlesser and Mauro Baldi. This dominated the series with six wins in nine races, and took the Drivers' and Constructors' titles.

After success in sportscars Sauber and Mercedes began to look at Formula 1 and Naher became part of the Sauber project. When the team entered Grand Prix racing in 1993 Naher was Karl Wendlinger's race engineer but after a year on the racing trail, Naher decided he wanted to have a more relaxed life and moved across to head the Sauber testing team. He has since disappeared from the F1 scene.