Audi’s silver racing monsters head to Goodwood’s silver jubilee.
9 July, 2018
It will be a glittering silver affair at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, as the world’s favourite horsepower party celebrates its 25th year. Fittingly, Audi will be in attendance with two of its famous silver racers, the Auto Union Type C racing car from 1936 and a 1939 Wanderer Streamline Special.
Running from July 12 to 15th, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the world's largest historic motor racing event, and attracts not only the most exotic automotive machines from around the globe, but the Who’s Who of motorsport royalty. As a result, it is a veritable mecca for the automotive faithful and this year, a crowd of more than 200,000 visitors is expected to descend on Lord March’s estate in West Sussex.
Audi Tradition has long been a supporter of the festival, sending examples of racing greats from its more than 100 years of competition to take part in the proceedings. This year the Auto Union Type C will be back at the event, where it has always attracted attention on previous visits. In the past, the monstrous 16 cylinder, 520 horsepower (that’s 388kW) racer has been driven at Goodwood by Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason, but even his celebrity is diminished in the presence of the 340km/h Type C. This year, Hans-Joachim Stuck will have driving duties at Goodwood, a fitting choice, given that his father Hans was a member of the Auto Union team and tremendously successful campaigner in the Silver Arrow.
From its first appearance in 1936, it was viewed as a futuristic marvel, with its rear-mounted engine and sleek appearance. In its debut year, Bernd Rosemeyer won the European driving championship and the German hill-climb championship.
This year the Auto Union Type C will be back at the event, where it has always attracted attention on previous visits
The Streamline Special made its name 80 years ago, when Auto Union AG enrolled three of them in what was then the world's toughest rally, Liège- Rome-Liège
Joining the Type C, the Streamline Special will make its first appearance at the festival. The Streamline Special made its name 80 years ago, when Auto Union AG enrolled three of them in what was then the world's toughest rally, Liège- Rome-Liège. The car had to do at least 50 kilometres per hour over the entire 4000 kilometre course. During the 100 hours of the race, drivers hardly stopped except to refuel, placing great stresses on the themselves and their machines. In 1938 only a third of the cars reached the finish and, in 1939, only 21 out of 51 did. All three Wanderer Streamline Specials went the distance, giving Auto Union the brand championship.
The Stuff of Legend
The distinctive silver of Auto Union’s famous race cars and some other German marques has become the stuff of automotive legend over the years. Prior to 1934, each country competed with its national colour – British racing green, Rosso Corsa red for Italy and Germany was assigned white. In 1934, a change to Grand Prix rules saw German manufacturers completely redesign their cars for an assault on the championship. Legend has it, that by removing the white lead-based paint from the bodywork, as much as a kilo in weight could be removed, and the distinctive silver livery was born.
There is some discussion as to the veracity of this claim though, and there are several recorded instances where Auto Union and Mercedes had entered silver cars in earlier races. Word of the paint removal story didn’t surface until the late 1950s and there is no official record anywhere that was the reason for sunning race cars in their bare metal. Still, the story has a certain romance that fits with the daring of the times.
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