August 1, 2002
Story adapted from Audi AG press release / Photos courtesy of Audi AG
What Le Mans is for today’s motor sport, the “Festival of Speed” is for motor sport history. Every year the park of the Earl of March’s estate in Goodwood, near Chichester in West Sussex, England is transformed into a mecca for famous racing drivers and motor sport enthusiasts from all over the world. This year, from July 12 to 14, 2002, this classic racing event was organised with “On the Limit – A History of Heroes” as its slogan. Racing and rally cars as well as motorcycles from various motor sport epochs were present at the starting line.
Audi Tradition participated with racing and rally cars representing the company’s motor sport history most impressively: the Auto Union Type C Grand Prix racing car of 1936, the Audi quattro built in 1982, the Audi Sport quattro S1 Pikes Peak of 1986 and the Audi R8 built for the 2000 season.
At the “Festival of Speed” Frank Biela, the triumphant triple Le Mans champion, sat behind the wheel of a Auto Union Type C 16-cylinder car with 520 hp engine. In 1936, this legendary vehicle was the most successful German Grand Prix racing car, carrying off three out of five Grand Prix events and half of the other races and hillclimbs for which Auto Union had entered. Among the most celebrated drivers who took the wheel of this car were Hans Stuck, Bernd Rosemeyer, Achille Varzi, Ernst von Delius, Hermann Paul Müller and Rudolf Hasse. After the end of World War II all of Auto Union’s racing cars which were laid up in Zwickau had to be handed over to the Soviet Union as reparation payments. After that, their whereabouts were something of a mystery. In fond remembrance of these outstanding achievements in automotive engineering AUDI AG commissioned the legendary restoration workshops of Crosthwaite & Gardiner in Great Britain to build up a Type C single-seat racing car in strict accordance with the original car. This replica belongs to Audi Tradition’s Historic Collection and has appeared at historic racing events since 1998.
The Audi quattro turned the rally world upside down. With a victory in the Swedish Rally in 1981, Hannu Mikkola secured the first world rally championship success for Audi. In 1982, thanks to magnificent victories by Michèle Mouton, Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist, Audi won the fiercely contested manufacturers’ world championship title for the first time. At Goodwood Hannu Mikkola appeared in the cockpit of an Audi quattro, built in 1982, together with Arne Hertz, his navigator from days long past.
Among Audi’s most spectacular overseas triumphs was the world famous Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado, USA, which it won in 1985, 1986 and 1987. The 4301-metre high mountain was conquered three times in succession, each time at a new record speed. In Goodwood, the winning Audi Sport quattro S1 “Pikes Peak” was driven by German rally champion Harald Demuth.
With its splendid hat-trick at the 2002 Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi has once again made motor sport history. Above all, it was the first time ever that the same team had won this race, which has been held since 1923, for the third time in succession: Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Emanuele Pirro (Italy). At the “Festival of Speed” Pirro drove the 2000 Audi R8, with which this success series began.
The four rings of the Audi badge symbolise the brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, which were later combined under the umbrella of Auto Union. Auto Union and NSU, which merged in 1969, made many significant contributions towards the development of the car. AUDI AG was formed from Audi NSU Auto Union AG in 1985. Together with the two traditional companies Auto Union GmbH and NSU GmbH, Audi Tradition nurtures and presents the deep and diverse history of Audi.