The sight and sound of Auto-Union grand Prix cars, experienced by so few since they were built in the ’30s, is to provide an extraordinary centrepiece to the fifth Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 20-22.
Only the boldest drivers, such as the incomparably brave Bernd Rosemeyer and Hans von Stuck, could tame the 200mph monsters, and it is possible that von Stuck’s son Hans ex-Audi racer, former Grand Prix driver and twice Le Mans winner could pilot one at Goodwood.
And fellow German, twice World champion Michael Schumacher, may also be there to celebrate Ferraris’ 50th anniversary, if on-going talks with event organiser the Earl of March bear fruit.
At least two of the remarkable Silver Arrows Types C and D are expected to grace the event courtesy of Audi, which amalgamated with the DKW, Horch and Wanderer marques to form Auto-Union in 1932.
The availability of a ‘works’ car as well as the 1938 chassis owned by Americans Paul and Barbara Karassik, will have a magnetic attraction to spectators because the early bullet like machines designed by Ferdinand Porsche have a presence and an almost mythical aura to them.
Although they were not the first rear or, more correctly, mid-engined single-seaters to race Professor Rumpler’s far-sighted mid-engined Benz design was raced in 1924, the Auto-Unions contrasted starkly with the pre-war Mercedes-Benz GP cars.
Apart from carrying their drivers way forward and very low, the innovative chassis which were noted for their devilish handling featured large diameter tubular sidemembers, with independent suspension at each corner, and swing-axles at the rear.
Their Eberan von Eberhorst designed supercharged engines a massive V16 in the Type C for the 750kg formula, and a 3-litre V12 in the later model developed a staggering 520bhp (in ultimate 6-litre form) and 400bhp respectively. Full Festival of Speed preview, page 22.
MOTOR SPORT’s legendary correspondent Denis Jenkinson, who died last November, will be remembered in a tribute at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. ‘Jenks’, who won the World Sidecar Championship with Eric Oliver in 1949, and the Mille Miglia with Stirling Moss in 1955, adored the event. In 1995, Moss drove him up the Goodwood hill, to rapturous applause, in the Mercedes-Benz 300SLR. “People keep asking if this brings back memories,” he said on that glorious day. “I say no, I never lost them!”
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