Apple quietly snaps up key hire from Porsche in latest bid for auto talent


Employees work on the Porsche Macan sports utility vehicle assembly line inside the Porsche Leipzig GmbH factory, a unit of Porsche AG, in Leipzig, Germany, on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Employees work on the Porsche Macan sports utility vehicle assembly line inside the Porsche Leipzig GmbH factory, a unit of Porsche AG, in Leipzig, Germany, on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.

Apple poached the technical director of Porsche’s race car programme earlier this year, Manager Magazin said on Friday, hiring a project manager who helped engineer the sports car company’s victorious return to the Le Mans endurance race.

Alexander Hitzinger is the latest auto specialist to be recruited by technology giant Apple as it explores building its own car.

Earlier this month, Apple urged regulators not to impose too many restrictions on developers of self-driving cars.

Hitzinger could not be reached for comment.

Porsche confirmed Hitzinger had left the company in the spring. Apple was not immediately available for comment.

Hitzinger helped Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, return to endurance racing and to develop the 919 hybrid sports car from scratch, much in the same way Apple is now looking into building its own vehicle.

Porsche’s new race car won Le Mans and the endurance racing world championship in both 2015 and 2016 using largely unproven technology, which beat far more established rivals.

Hitzinger helped hire and build a development team and organisational structure at Porsche, expanding from ten staff to over 150 employees.

Hitzinger’s LinkedIn profile states he left Porsche in March and joined a “Technology Company” located in the San Francisco Bay Area as an engineering executive in April.

Hitzinger is quoted by Manager Magazin as saying he wanted to do something “which has a significant and direct impact on society”, but did not confirm he now worked at Apple.



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