Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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A Tradition of Innovation

With racing innovations such as mid-engined layouts, 4-wheel drive, diesel, and hybrid technology, Audi is one of motorsport’s most important marques.

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One of their greatest successes was the pre-war dominance of international racing. As part of his plan to bring Germany back to the world stage, newly appointed Chancellor Adolf Hitler gave Mercedes-Benz 500,000 Reichmarks to build a car that would dominate races across Europe. After Ferdinand Porsche, then employed by Auto Union, convinced Hitler that 2 programs would be a better chance at domination than 1, the money was split 50/50 between Mercedes and Auto Union.

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Mercedes went the conventional route, with a straight-8 in front of the driver. Ferdinand Porsche had a different idea. His Auto Union Type A would have a 4.3-liter V16 mounted behind the driver and a complicated suspension to try and help drivers cope with the heavy oversteer that results from having a 400-pound engine running on bias-ply tires.

Bernd Rosemeyer at the Nurburgring
Bernd Rosemeyer at the Nurburgring
Image: Unknown Photographer (German Federal Archives)
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By 1936, the engine had grown to 6 liters and produced well over 500 horsepower. The car modeled here, now known as the Type C, was dominant with Bernd Rosemeyer at the wheel. The car was a class above the field. It could easily top 200 mph on straights and it wouldn’t be until 1969 that F1 cars would produce more power than Dr. Porsche’s V16 masterpiece.

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This is a Minichamps model of the 1936 Auto Union Type C in 1/43 scale. From my research, it does not depict any specific race, though Rosemeyer did drive with the number 1. Detail is phenomenal, with highlights including the wire wheels and photoetched grill.

An R18 e-tron quattro at Le Mans 2013
An R18 e-tron quattro at Le Mans 2013
Image: Surreal Name Given (Flickr)
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Moving forward to 2012, Audi makes another racing breakthrough. Audi was the dominant force in endurance racing, winning 11 of the previous 13 24 Hours of Le Mans. Just 6 years after revolutionizing the LMP1 class with a turbodiesel power plant, Audi did it again. This time, they added a hybrid system to the front axle. This layout not only added power, but game the car incredible grip by effectively making it all-wheel drive. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro would go on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans 3 straight years.

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The model depicted is the 2013 Audi R18 e-tron quattro that finished 5th in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in. This is also in 1/43 and made by Spark. The detail is incredible, with one of the most impressive paint finishes I’ve seen on a 1/43 car.

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