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July 27, 2009

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Audi armada at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason driving Auto Union Type D in its very last appearance on the racetrack

Audi Tradition is taking a veritable armada of racing cars to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the south of England from July 3 to 5, where Audi will be the “featured marquee”. At the most prestigious classic motor sport event in the world, no fewer than 15 current and historic Audi racing cars will be climbing the hill in the grounds of the Earl of March’s stately home. In Audi’s one-hundredth year, they will be documenting over 70 years of motor sport involvement by the brand with the four rings.

There will be a whole array of big names driving them, from World Rally Champions Walter Röhrl, Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola to DTM, STC and Le Mans heroes Frank Biela, Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Marco Werner. Audi Tradition has invited a towering figure from Formula 1 and Le Mans history, Jacky Ickx, as well as Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, to attend Goodwood as its special guests.

Nick Mason has already driven the Auto Union Type C and Type D Dual Compressor Silver Arrows for Audi Tradition at Goodwood in the past two years. The motor sport enthusiast and owner of an outstanding collection of racing cars is facing a particular challenge in 2009. Mason will be piloting the largely original Auto Union Type D from 1938 in its very last demonstration run. After Goodwood 2009, this outstanding piece of motor sport history will be definitively retired from “active service” and will eventually go on show in the Audi museum mobile. “It’s a great honour for me to be allowed to drive this car on its last outing, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” commented an overjoyed Nick Mason.

But the Pink Floyd drummer is also renowned for his dry humour: “It looks like I’m acquiring a reputation far and wide as the most experienced Auto Union driver still around.” After Goodwood 2009, Nick Mason will be the only person to have driven all three still-roadworthy Auto Union Silver Arrow cars in the possession of Audi Tradition.

The long-standing Formula 1 racing driver Jacky Icky will also be taking to the wheel of an Auto Union Silver Arrow at Goodwood. The six-times Le Mans winner is looking forward to driving the Auto Union Type D Dual Compressor from 1939, which Audi Tradition has had rebuilt, and which made its maiden run last year. Ickx commented: “It’s a privilege to be allowed to drive this Auto Union racing car – at Goodwood of all places, this unique event.” The line-up of Audi Tradition Silver Arrow models will be completed by the Auto Union Type C Streamliner. The authentic copy of the world record breaker from 1937 will go on show in the pit lane, marking the 75th anniversary of the Silver Arrow.

Another towering figure from the history of motor sport will once more be driving for Audi: Walter Röhrl, widely regarded as the greatest rally driver ever. Now 62 years old, he won the World Championship in 1980 and 1982, but one of the most memorable moments of his illustrious career came in 1987 when he took the Audi Sport quattro S1 up Pikes Peak in the USA in record time. Walter Röhrl will now be taking that selfsame car up the hill at Goodwood. Röhrl remarked: “I am absolutely delighted to be getting my hands on the Audi Pikes Peak again. It’s a truly fabulous experience to be able to do so at Goodwood.” And Walter Röhrl will also be driving another icon from his time as an Audi driver – the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO, in which the Bavarian participated in circuit races in the USA in 1989. He will be joined by two team colleagues from his rally-driving heyday, two drivers who equally earned themselves a prominent place in the annals of rally driving history: Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist, 1983 and 1984 World Rally Champions in an Audi. The Finn Mikkola will be driving the car in which Audi captured the World Rally Championship, the Audi quattro A2, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Blomqvist will be piloting the “monster” – the Audi Sport quattro S1.

Completing the field are the multiple Le Mans winners Frank Biela, Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Marco Werner, accompanied by the two-times German Rally Champion for Audi, Harald Demuth. They will all be driving types entered by Audi at Le Mans at some stage – R8R, R8, R10 and R15. Then there are the Audi A4 DTM from 2007, the Audi A4 STC from 1996, the Audi V8 quattro DTM, the 1988 Audi 200 quattro TransAm and the Audi R8 LMS. The fleet is rounded off by the only motorcycle that Audi Tradition is showing at Goodwood. In honour of Ewald Kluge, who would have turned 100 this year and became the first German rider to win the Tourist Trophy in 1938, the model on which Kluge competed for Auto Union on the Isle of Man – a DKW 250 SS – will be lining up at the start.

(June 23, 09)

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