Here at oneighturbo.com, you know we are avid fans of both Audi and motor sports. We a lot have a lot of historical background to catch up on. One is this, Bernd Rosemeyer. Without him and the early Auto Union (Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer) racing programs we more than likely wouldn’t have had what we do today from the Audi automobiles to the exotic R10 TDI.
On thing to note is that how amazing things haven’t changed.. not only with Audi but the automotive/motorsport in itself.
Rosemeyer hit over 400 km/h. This equals 248.55mph for us Americans. This puts us right inline with the Bugatti Veyron. The Porsche Carrera GT comes in at 205 mph (330 kph).
The engine: 16-cylinder engine with an output of 545 hp. Right in range with most exotics today.
As you read below, the outcome of his accident came with questions, not unlike today. Who, what, why?
So in the end, it looks/sounds the same on paper, but we have come along way.
• Auto Union racing driver died in fatal crash 70 years ago
• Laying of wreath at memorial
• Congress in Zwickau
2008 is the 70th anniversary of the death of the illustrious Auto Union racing driver Bernd Rosemeyer. He was killed when his Auto Union streamliner racing car crashed during an attempt to break the world record on the autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. Audi Tradition will be laying a wreath at the memorial on what is now the A5 autobahn. Audi Tradition and the August Horch Museum, Zwickau, will also be organising a congress in memory of Bernd Rosemeyer on January 28, 2008.
Late one morning, on January 28, 1938, a silver racing car streaked down the long, straight stretch of autobahn linking Frankfurt and Darmstadt at a speed of well over 400 km/h. It was aiming to break a world speed record and achieve a new best time for the flying kilometre. The venture ended tragically. The car started to skid and crashed. The driver was killed.
The pilot of the record-breaking car was Bernd Rosemeyer, a leading sportsman and top racing driver of the Saxony company Auto Union, and an incredibly popular personality in his own right. He had been under contract as works driver since 1935. He had captured his first Grand Prix win in a racing car sporting the four rings in the September of that year on the Masrykring, near Brno. He then truly dominated the field in 1936 in what became the legendary ‘Silberpfeil’ era. He earned pride of place on the winners’ rostrum on seven occasions, including winning three Grand Prix races. He became European Champion, German Road Champion and German Hill Climb Champion in the Auto Union 16-cylinder Type C.
Rosemeyer first broke world records in June 1937 in the Auto Union racing car on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt autobahn, and then bettered his own speeds in October 1937. He became the first man to break the 400 km/h barrier on an ordinary road. For the record-breaking attempts in January 1938, Auto Union constructed a revised version of the record-breaking streamliner with a 16-cylinder engine and an output of 545 hp. Following the tragic outcome of this venture, Chemnitz-based Auto Union AG never again made an attempt at speed records.
Question upon question was raised following the fatal incident. What was the cause of the disaster? Whose fault was it? Was there really any point to record-breaking attempts? These questions remain as topical as ever, and keep inspiring new insights and research.
To mark the 70th anniversary of the event, Audi Tradition and the August Horch Museum are organising a congress in Zwickau, the birthplace of Auto Union’s ‘Silberpfeil’ cars. The congress will take place at 1 p.m. on Monday, January 28, 2008 in the Lecture Theatre of the August Horch Museum, Audi Strasse 7, Zwickau.
The following papers will be present:
Dr. Uwe Day: A German hero, conquered by demons. Bernd Rosemeyer, a pop star caught up in the maelstrom of National Socialism’s media machinery and propaganda of progress.
Martin Schröder: Just a gust of wind? Proposals and theories on the cause of the fatal accident on January 28, 1938.
Eberhard Reuss: The apolitical political Bernd Rosemeyer. Notes on a top sports personality in the age of National Socialism.
Prof. Peter Kirchberg: Auto Union’s record-breaking exploits and Grand Prix motor racing – the aims, cost and rewards.
The wreath will be laid on January 28, 2008 at the Bernd Rosemeyer memorial at the first car park after the Langen-Mörfelden exit on the present-day A5 autobahn from Frankfurt to Heidelberg, heading in the direction of Darmstadt.
The four rings of the Audi badge symbolise the brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, which were combined under the umbrella of Auto Union in 1932. 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 tradition companies Auto Union GmbH and NSU GmbH, Audi Tradition nurtures and presents the deep and diverse history of Audi. The Audi museum mobile at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt is closed for conversions until February 11, 2008. The August Horch Museum in Zwickau is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Audi AG