A history of innovation

The story of Audi's motorsport heritage is a story of pioneering innovation. There is a continuous cascade from our racing engineering into the development of the RS and R8 road cars, meaning that the Audi Sport range truly represents Vorsprung durch Technik.

The Audi R18

Passion and progress

Silver Arrow era

The first step toward becoming the pioneering automotive force that Audi is today was taken by German engineer August Horch, when he founded the company in 1910. In 1932 Audi was included in a merger of Saxony’s four automobile manufacturers and motorsport became the chief medium for promoting this new Auto Union.

When the Grand Prix introduced a weight restriction of 750kg for all participating cars in 1934, Auto Union was ready to unleash its technical ingenuity and an entire movement of motorsport design was born, known as Silver Arrow. Porche’s torsion-bar front suspension and lightweight construction were highly successful technical features invented by Auto Union, as was the “rear engine” concept - the end-all of modern day racing car design that enabled the driver to be seated lower, streamlining aerodynamics and producing a lower centre of gravity.

The Silver Arrow racing cars made motorsport history with success after success until World War 2 broke out in 1939.

Audi Silver Arrow era

The birth of quattro all-wheel drive

The legendary Audi Sport quattro A1 made its debut at the 1983 Monte Carlo Rally and was an instant sensation. A new era had begun and rally driving would never be the same again.

In 2015, Audi introduced the RS 3 Sportback, a tribute in many ways to the most powerful car to ever compete in the world rally championship – the quattro S1 E2. Even though they were separated by three decades, the two cars shared many strands of DNA, closing the gap between racing and road.

quattro on the road

quattro is one of the best examples of Audi's translation of racing technology into road cars. Whether on the track or a country road, quattro provides phenomenal grip. quattro is at the core of the RS and R8 models, keeping that breathtaking and immense power under control.

quattro is continuously being developed and today it’s available across the entire Audi range. quattro is at the heart of all RS models and the R8 boasts an exclusive quattro design that enables flexible distribution of up to 100% of torque between front and rear axles.

Le Mans technology

Audi developed an entirely new racing car in 1997 to participate in the Le Mans 24-hour race. This would kick start the new practice of Audi's racing technologies filtering into road car development.

Technology that was originally conceived and manufactured in the original all-conquering Audi R18 race car can be found across our Audi Sport models today, such as the amazing Matrix Beam LED lights of the R8 Coupé.

In recent years, Audi have made real history at Le Mans. They were the first car manufacturer to win with a diesel-powered car, a hybrid engine and an all-wheel drive car. This sort of determination to innovate has led Audi to success after motorsport success, with a staggering 13 Le Mans wins to date.


Audi at Le Mans

Audi Sport today

Today, more than ever, there’s a seamless connection between Audi’s racing pedigree and its range of RS and R8 models.

The Le Mans “single-man engine” building process is applied to all RS road models, which means that each engine part is assembled by one lead engineer who then follows it in testing around the world – from African sand dunes to Swedish winter wonderlands.

It's this passion and commitment of our designers and engineers that keeps Audi Sport driving forward and producing some the most exciting cars on the road.

100 years of Audi on the race track

In 2010, Audi celebrated 100 years of racing. Legends raced against each other at the event in Ingolstadt, from a 1934 Silver Arrow to recent LeMans race cars.

Audi Sport events

Audi Sport compete in some of the world's top racing series.

Endurance racing has been the pinnacle of Audi's motorsport endeavours for almost two decades. With 13 victories in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and lasting success in the World Endurance Championship, competing at the highest level has challenged us to create some of the defining technologies now found in our road cars.

We now look to our next chapter for Audi Motorsport. Be sure to follow our progress and the latest events.