Hans Werner Aufrecht: AMG to HWA

Hans Werner Aufrecht: AMG to HWA

This is the most interesting company you’ve probably never heard of: HWA AG is a German engineering and development firm that specializes in motorsport engineering, vehicle development, and consulting services for the automotive industry. It was founded by a man named Hans Werner Aufrecht, who, as you may know, worked for Mercedes-Benz in the 1960s and later, in 1967, co-founded a little company called AMG.

Now, here’s where things get interesting: Hans Werner Aufrecht and his co-founder of AMG, Erhard Melcher, had a bit of a falling out in 1999 after Mercedes-Benz acquired a majority stake in AMG. According to rumors at the time, the split between the two co-founders was amicable and based on a difference of opinion about the future direction of the company. Aufrecht wanted to focus more on motorsport engineering and development, while Melcher wanted to continue to focus on the production of high-performance road cars.

Aufrecht’s desire to maintain a focus on motorsport development and engineering led him to found his own company, HWA, (H)ans (W)erner (A)ufrecht in 1998, a year before Mercedes-Benz acquired a majority stake in AMG. HWA quickly established a reputation for excellence in motorsport engineering and development. The company worked closely with Mercedes-Benz to develop and build race cars for various motorsport series, including the DTM, FIA GT Championship, and Formula Three.

After the split, Aufrecht sustained his focus on motorsport development and engineering as the CEO of AMG until his retirement in 2005. While he was CEO of AMG, he also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for HWA. In this role, he oversaw the development of HWA’s racing programs and the construction of its race cars. Meanwhile, Erhard Melcher went on to found a new company, Melcher GmbH, after leaving AMG.

Melcher GmbH was founded in 2000 and focused on developing high-performance engines and components for motorsports applications. The company worked with a variety of racing teams and manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz and its AMG division. Melcher GmbH was later rebranded as HWA Engine GmbH and became a subsidiary of HWA AG. This clearly shows there was no bad blood between the co-founders of AMG.

HWA continued to specialize in motorsport engineering and development, particularly in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. In its early years, HWA focused primarily on providing technical support and development services for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series, including the development of high-performance race cars and engines.

One of the most impressive race cars that HWA was involved in developing was the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, a purpose-built race car developed for the FIA GT1 championship. The CLK-GTR was powered by a mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 6.9-liter V12 engine that produced 600 horsepower and 572 lb-ft of torque. It had a six-speed sequential transmission and rear-wheel drive and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of over 200 mph. The car’s aerodynamic design was also noteworthy, with a long, pointed front end and a massive rear wing for maximum downforce. The CLK-GTR was an impressive machine that helped establish Mercedes-Benz’s reputation as a serious contender in the world of motorsports. HWA’s involvement in the development of the CLK-GTR helped establish the company’s reputation as a leading name in motorsport engineering and development.

Hans Werner Aufrecht’s success with AMG and DTM racing established the HWA company name as a leading name in motorsport before it was even founded. In fact, in the early 1990s, while still working at an independent AMG, Aufrecht oversaw the development of the highly successful version of the Mercedes-Benz M102 engine used in the 190E Evolution II DTM race car. This racing beast was equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine that produced over 300 horsepower in race trim. The 190E Evolution II went on to win the DTM championship in 1992, solidifying Aufrecht’s reputation as a brilliant motorsport engineer. On a side note, we actually offer an exact reproduction of this aerodynamic package on our website.

Over the years, Aufrecht and AMG were involved in the development of numerous other Mercedes-Benz race cars, including the C-Class DTM car. This car was based on the W202 platform and featured a 90-degree V6 engine that was specifically designed for the series. The engine used in the C-Class DTM was based on the M119 engine used in the road-going S-Class models but was extensively modified for racing. The result? A tremendously impressive 400 horsepower that provided the C-Class DTM with plenty of power to compete at the highest level of DTM racing, but it wasn’t just about power. Hans Werner Aufrecht and Mercedes-Benz also had to think about optimizing the car’s aerodynamics. The C-Class DTM featured a custom-designed aerodynamic package that included a front splitter, a large rear wing, and a diffuser. On another side note, we also offer an exact reproduction of this aerodynamic package on our website. Ultimately, these elements were carefully designed to produce downforce and reduce drag, improving the car’s cornering and straight-line speed. Hans Werner Aufrecht also worked closely with Mercedes-Benz to develop a custom-designed suspension system for the C-Class DTM. The suspension was designed to be highly adjustable, allowing the car to be optimized for different tracks and racing conditions.

It’s worth noting that HWA was also involved in the development of the road-going versions of the Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG and C43 AMG but not in the development of the Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG. The C36 AMG was introduced in 1993 and was the first vehicle jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG. HWA was involved in the development of its high-performance engine. Similarly, the C43 AMG, which was introduced in 1997, also had HWA involvement in its engine development. The Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG, on the other hand, was introduced in 2004 and was not developed with direct involvement from HWA. Instead, the C55 AMG was developed by Mercedes-AMG, which had by then transformed into the performance division of Mercedes-Benz.

However, HWA has had a long-standing relationship with Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG. The company has provided technical support and development services to various motorsport teams and manufacturers over the years, including Mercedes-AMG. In recent years, HWA has expanded its focus to include all-electric racing with the establishment of HWA Racelab. This team competes in the FIA Formula E Championships and made its debut in the series in the 2018–2019 season. Since then, HWA Racelab has secured numerous podium finishes and top-ten finishes in the championship standings, reflecting HWA’s ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence in motorsport engineering and development.

In conclusion, Hans Werner Aufrecht and HWA made a significant contribution to the world of motorsport engineering and vehicle development. With its impressive track record and ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence, HWA is sure to continue making waves in the world of motorsport for many years to come.
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