The Fallen Stars Audi Rosemeyer

  • 30 July 2022
  • 3 min read
  • 6 images
The Fallen Stars Audi Rosemeyer image

The Audi Rosemeyer is one of several concepts that emerged when Ferdinand Piech’s tenure was at its absolute peak. The briefing of the famous engineer can already be found in the name: Bernd Rosemeyer was a very talented young driver of the Auto Union racing team during the 30s. 

1-Audi-Rosemeyer-1024x724 The traditional front air intake on the Rosemeyer is reminiscent of the pre-war Auto Union Grand Prix Cars, evoking the many successes but also tragedies

The years in which the revolutionary Grand Prix single-seater from the House of the Four Rings took on and often beat the more traditional Mercedes in a challenge that showcased and championed the value of German technology in the eyes of the world. 

2-Audi-Rosemeyer-1935-1024x596 The 1935 Auto Union single-seater Grand Prix car inspired the model used for the speed record

And it was this very challenge, on 28th January 1938 on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt motorway between Mercedes and Auto Union to set the international speed record, the origin of the accident that ended his dream. After Caracciola driving a Mercedes had just established the new record at 423 km/h, and despite advising him not to attempt it because of the strong winds, Rosemeyer wanted to try all the same. When a gust hit the Auto Union Type C Streamline, it was travelling at 450 km/h. But for him it was the end.

3-Audi-Rosemeyer-back-1024x724 The Rosemeyer borrows some features from those models: fluid, tapered lines for aerodynamic efficiency and the numerous inlets on the engine cover

In 2000, using Piech’s briefing and the images of the time as a starting point, the concept car was created, powered by the powerful mid-mounted W16 engine with a displacement of 8,004cc. All references to the track and the record-breaking Auto Union, although modernized by smoother lines, were deliberate and in plain sight. 

4-Audi-Rosemeyer-silhouette-1024x724 Rarely has a contemporary car been able to reproduce the style of pre-war racing models so effectively

The technology used in the car brought together the very best Audi could offer, including four-wheel drive and a manual gearbox combined with a sophisticated contemporary mechanism.

5-Audi-Rosemeyer-manual-gearbox-1024x914 A small steering wheel and 6-speed manual gearbox for the model dedicated to the famous champion, Bernd Rosemeyer

More than a leap into tomorrow however, the car came across as a mobile monument to the courage of a driver who wanted a shot at the record to stop journalists writing in the newspapers the next day about the magnificence of the one set by this opponent driving a Mercedes. A challenge that continues to this day.

6-Audi-Rosemeyer-auto-union-record The last record-breaking Auto Union, the one with which Rosemeyer lost his life during an attempt to regain the speed record on 28th January 1938 on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt motorway