Huschke von Hanstein

Fritz Sittig Enno Werner von Hanstein (3 January 1911 – 5 January 1996), nicknamed “Huschke von Hanstein”, was a German race driver who from the 1950s served as Porsche’s public relations manager and chief of the racing department of Porsche.

Hanstein was born in Halle, German Empire, to a Prussian noble family which originated in the Eichsfeld. His father Carlo von Hanstein (1875–1936) was a Prussian Army officer and Junker.

In the late 1930s, “Huschke” drove a BMW 328 sports car. As he had joined the SS, his car was fitted with SS rune number plates (SS-333). In 1940, he together with Walter Bäumer won the Mille Miglia on a BMW 328.

As a result of World War II, Hanstein’s family’s possessions were lost in socialist East Germany. In June 1950, he married Ursula von Kaufmann (1916-2005) on the Nürburgring race track. Hanstein joined Porsche, then a small sports car manufacturer, serving as a kind of ambassador especially to foreign markets like France, which were rather difficult for Germans at the time. Due to his aristocratic background and diplomatic skills, he succeeded both in selling cars as well as passing technical inspections before races, like at the 24 hours of Le Mans where he led Porsche 356 to class wins.

In 1956 Hanstein drove a Porsche 550 Spyder all the way to Sicily to enter in the Targa Florio, for which he hired Umberto Maglioli. The experienced Italian did most of the driving in the long distance race across the mountains, scoring Porsche’s first major win. Hanstein led the Porsche racing teams until the middle of the 1960s, when Porsche decided to let young engineers like Ferdinand Piech take over. Without Hanstein’s aristocratic skills, the Porsche team promptly ran into trouble at 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans due to misunderstandings with the French.

Huschke von Hanstein, the so-called “racing baron”, continued to serve as representative in German and international automobile organizations. He died in 1996 in Stuttgart.