It is with heavy hearts that we pass along the news of Peter Schutz’s death; the courageous man who kept the 911 alive, dragged Porsche out of the doldrums, and revitalized their racing program. Not only did Schutz possess a fighting spirit, but he listened to his peers and worked with some of the brightest minds to grace Porsche. These qualities helped him take Porsche from a struggling outfit when he joined, to tripling their sales a few years later.
In 1981, when Schutz joined Porsche, where he would act as CEO until 1987, they were experiencing their first recorded losses and on the verge of replacing the iconic 911 with the 924 and 928. Wisely, Schutz held onto the brand-defining 911 and instead diversified the model; introducing the popular Cabriolet, the exotic Speedster, and the techno-heavy 959—the latter serving as a test bed for technologies that would make the 911 a more palatable product. His championing of these offshoots stemmed from the intelligent men he surrounded himself with—namely Porsche, Bott, Falk, Singer, and Jantke—and his willingness to listen to them.
He was also a fighter and a pragmatist, and this helped Porsche’s motorsports program immeasurably. Instead of chancing Le Mans success with the unproven 924, he revitalized the aging 936 and famously proclaimed “as long as I am in charge of this company, we will never go to any race without the objective of winning.” This single-minded and sensible approach to competition helped take Porsche Motorsports to the level of consummate professionalism it’s known for today, and any Porsche fan owes him their respect.