A Brief History of Audi in Racing

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When most people think of Audi, they think of one of the world's most successful luxury car manufacturers. However, the carmaker's story doesn't end with manufacturing cars. Audi also has a successful history in motorsports, with its teams experiencing success over several decades. Since betting is a big part of motorsports, it's no surprise that many fans have wagered on Audi's teams over the years. Sportsbooks like Virgin Bet offer free bets to new customers, giving them a chance to try out sports betting without investing any money. Given its past and recent successes, Audi's future in motorsports is bright. Keep reading to learn about Audi's racing history.

The Beginnings: Auto Union​

Long before Audi was a household name, the company was known as Auto Union. We can trace Audi's racing history back to the Auto Union Type A driven by Hans Stuck in 1934. Auto Union's racing project enjoyed immediate success, winning three races during the Grand Prix season in 1934. The Auto Union livery was a muted silver in keeping with the tradition of racing cars using colors from their team's country of origin. As a result, besides the logo on the nose of the vehicle, the Auto Union car was virtually indistinguishable from the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows. Auto Union's foray into racing ended in 1939 with its Type D car.

Audi Sport Department​

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It would be several decades before Audi re-entered the world of motorsport after Auto Union's success. Audi established its Audi Sport Department in 1978, ushering in a new chapter in the car manufacturer's racing story. Since launching the Audi Sport Department, the company has produced several successful racing classes. The Audi Quattro, which made its debut at Austria's Janner Rally in 1980, was the most iconic. The team enjoyed almost immediate success winning races in the UK, Italy, and Sweden from 1981 to 1983. The car won two driver and manufacturer titles at the World Rally Championship during these years. Audi released multiple versions of the Quattro until it stopped producing the car in 1991.

Pikes Peak and Beyond​

Building on its successes, the team from Audi decided to give it a go at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1984. Once again, Audi was victorious, taking home the prize three times from 1985 to 1987. Walter Röhrl and Audi joined forces to become the most successful rallying team during the decade. Audi's permanent four-wheel-drive system left drivers using cars with only rear-wheel-drive in the dust.

The Pikes Peak track is unlike any other racing track in the world. With a height of 2,866 meters at Crystal Creek, it's an environment designed for mountain racers. The route to the summit is almost 20 kilometers, and the upward gradient averages seven percent. The race is officially known as the International Hill Climb, and the name tells you a lot about the race. The legendary event takes place in Colorado, and the Audi Sport Quattro S1 powered up the peak in record time.

Beginning in 1984, Audi's main rivals Peugeot, Lancia, MG, and Ford, introduced cars with four-wheel drive to compete against Audi's Sport Quattro. As car manufacturers competed to produce the best cars, they made engines that generated more than 370kW. This era would last until 1986, when Audi withdrew from the World Championship.

HB International Partnership​

As Audi's profile in motorsport continued to rise, the team got its first major sponsor and livery. HB International and its yellow stripes joined the works team, and its livery was added to both sides of the racing cars. The team won the Stig Blomqvist in 1984, with the car sporting the new HB livery. The Audi Sport Quattro S1 also used this livery. While it only competed for a year before being pulled due to WRC regulations, the Audi 200 Quattro quickly replaced it for one season in 1987 before Audi dropped out of the WRC.

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