Zurlinden was a long-time Porsche stalwart, working as an engineer on its LMP1 programme before heading up the Weissach brand’s factory GT effort and then becoming Porsche’s head of factory motorsport.
The 39-year-old Frenchman left Porsche in October and will now join Multimatic’s Special Vehicle Operations (MSVO) division, which oversees the engineering company’s motorsports activities.
“I am really looking forward to my new job and want to thank Larry [Holt] and Multimatic for the trust they have placed in me,” Zurlinden said.
“Of course, I’ve been following Multimatic in motorsport and outside this field for many years as competitor and/or partner, and it’s something special for me to play a leading role in continuing the company’s success story on and off the race tracks.”
Porsche LMDh prototype
Photo by: Porsche
Last year Porsche and Audi announced they would partner with Multimatic for their prototype return, basing their LMDh hybrids on the next generation Multimatic LMP2 car.
That means Zurlinden will continue working closely with Porsche, a point Multimatic hopes will be beneficial for its partnership with the German sportscar brand.
Zurlinden also has history with Audi as a trackside technical project leader on its DTM programme between 2008 and 2014.
“We have worked with and competed against Pascal over the years and he has proven to be an outstanding technical partner as well as a tough adversary when we ran the Ford GT head to head against the Porsche 911 RS,” said MSVO vice president Holt.
“He is a highly skilled motorsport engineer with an extremely strong intuitive feel for race craft and a great approach to leading a team when subjected to the high pressure of competition.
“We are extremely fortunate to be able to have him join the MSVO team. As partners with Porsche on a number of motorsports programmes it can only enhance both companies to keep Pascal in the fold.”
Zurlinden (left) joins Patrick Pilet, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy on the podium at Le Mans in 2019
Photo by: Porsche
In its statement, Multimatic acknowledged Zurlinden was “instrumental” in the development of Porsche’s and Audi’s LMDh cars, adding that “all of his knowledge in that area will therefore still be exclusively available to Porsche and Audi”.
It added “there should be no loss of momentum” as both brands gear up for the category’s 2023 debut.
Porsche’s LMDh challenger completed its first run-out last week, with factory driver Frederic Makowiecki taking the car around the company’s Weissach test track.
American powerhouse Penske will run Porsche’s factory LMDh entries in both the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours.