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The Avus turns 100: full throttle through the Grunewald


The Avus race track in Berlin was inaugurated in September 1921. It is a myth of German automobile history - and a place of great tragedy. A look back in pictures.

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On May 23, 1928, Fritz von Opel shot over the Avus with his RAK 2 rocket car at 238 km / h.

24 solid fuel rockets in the rear of the car provided propulsion.

Photo: akg-images / picture alliance

The four letters Avus stand for "automobile traffic and practice road" - and for 100 years of fast driving.

Racing history was written on the aisle through the Grunewald in the southwest of Berlin and this is where the myth of the car as a bringer of freedom was born.

The numerous tragedies that occurred on and next to the Avus only increased the attraction of the slope. In 1926 alone, four people died at the “German Grand Prix”, which was held for the first time. And in the decades that followed, there were again and again spectacular accidents in which cars were catapulted into the air and drivers were thrown out. Especially after the Avus-Nordschleife was completed in 1937 as a gigantic banked curve with a cant of 43.6 °.

The Avus was planned from 1909 and was only inaugurated on September 24, 1921. The First World War had ruined planning and financing. In the post-war years, the construction was made possible primarily by private investors such as the industrialist Hugo Stinnes. When the Avus opened a hundred years ago in September, the approximately 19-kilometer route was the world's first road intended only for car traffic. Driving on it cost 10 Reichsmarks at that time.

The Avus experienced its heyday in the 1930s.

Well over 300,000 spectators came to the car races, in which racing stars like Rudolf Caracciola or Manfred von Brauchitsch shot down the long straights in their silver arrows at more than 300 km / h.

The National Socialists used motorsport as a stage to showcase technical superiority and heroism - and to underpin their claim to modernity with the car.

The Avus was badly damaged in the Second World War.

Racing was resumed in 1951.

In 1959, a Formula 1 race was even held on the Avus, primarily as a sporting political signal in the divided city.

A fatal accident and numerous collisions overshadowed the racing weekend.

The criticism of the north curve was getting louder and louder - the steep curve was finally torn down in 1967.

But whatever had road construction reasons, space was needed for the new triangle radio tower.

The Avus also hit the headlines in autumn 1989 when Berlin's Senator for Transport Horst Wagner introduced Tempo 100 there because more and more accidents had occurred on the route.

The last race on the Avus, the track had mostly been used as a public road for a long time, took place in May 1998.

It was a DTC touring car race.

Since then, the Avus has been part of the A115 motorway and is the busiest motorway in Germany.

The old main grandstand, which is right next to the carriageway, is now privately owned and has been renovated.

From here you can see the dead straight lane through the Grunewald.

However, this hardly attracted many professional drivers.

The British racing driver Stirling Moss once called it "the worst racetrack in the world".

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-09-24

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