Bernd Rosemeyer wasn’t like other racing drivers of the pre-World War II era. After getting his start racing motorcycles, Rosemeyer was hired on by the Auto Union (forerunner to Audi) racing team, despite his lack of experience racing cars.
Rosemeyer, whose lucky number was 13, quickly proved that his lack of experience worked in his favor. While more experienced drivers struggled to master the high-horsepower, mid-engined Silver Arrows, Rosemeyer quickly grew accustomed to the cars’ knife-edge handling.
In his second Grand Prix start, Rosemeyer passed Rudolf Caracciola for the lead on Germany’s storied Nürburgring. A missed shift cost him the victory, but Rosemeyer made up for the defeat by winning his next three races at the track.
At the height of his popularity, in January of 1938, Rosemeyer was killed in the crash of an Auto Union streamliner while attempting to set a new land speed record. Now, 75 years after Rosemeyer’s final victory at the British Grand Prix, Audi is paying tribute to the remarkable driver with exhibition runs by Silver Arrow cars at the Goodwood Revival.
Audi Tradition is bringing four restored Auto Union Silver Arrow racers to the Goodwood Revival, including the recently acquired Type D Dual Compressor
. Drivers conducting demo runs in the cars include F1 great Jacky Ickx, Le Mans veteran Frank Biela, and rock-star-turned-vintage-racing-driver Nick Mason
Displayed alongside the Auto Union racers will be cars from its primary period rival, Mercedes-Benz. In total, some ten Silver Arrow cars
from both automakers will be on hand for the event, which marks the first time that the recently restored Auto Union Type D and Type D Dual Compressor have appeared side by side.
Because of his passion for (and knowledge of) the brand, Mason has been called “the last Auto Union words driver.” Of the opportunity to drive these cars, Mason remarked, “When the German Silver Arrows hit Donington 75 years ago, motorsport in England changed forever. It’s really special to be allowed to drive such a racing car.”
If you’re lucky enough to be at this year’s Goodwood Revival (which begins on September 14), we’re sure the running of the Silver Arrows will be one of the event’s highlights.