Over 250 historic vehicles built between 1919 and 1973 will be tackling the approximately 1,500-kilometer route in four stages through Lombardy, Emilia Romana, Tuscany, Latium and Umbria. Audi Tradition is entering six very different classics in the race: a Wanderer W 25 K from 1936, an Audi 920 Sports Cabriolet from the year 1939, driven by triple Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro, a DKW 3 = 6 Cabrio (1956), an Auto Union 1000 Sports Roadster (1964), an Audi 100 Coupé S (1971), an Audi 100 LS (1972) and a RO 80 (1973).
The first stage on Thursday takes the entrants from Palazzo Te in Mantua, via Parma and Carrara, to Viareggio. Next morning they go on from there via Pisa, Siena and Viterbo to Rome: This is the first time that the Italian capital has been the destination of a Gran Premio stage. All the entrants\' exquisite vehicles will be there in the eternal city for everyone to admire on 19th September 2003. On Saturday the thoroughbreds pass through Rieti, Spoleto and Assisi, and then fight their way over the Passo de Viamaggio to Rimini. There, in the Grand Hotel, there will be a gala evening in memory of Tazio Nuvolari. The guest of honour will be 90-year-old Mariele Müller, widow of racing driver H. P. Müller, who was Nuvolari\'s team-mate at Auto Union in the thirties, during his silver-arrow era. The fourth and last stage leads along the Adriatic, via Ravenna and Ferrara, back to Mantua, and ends there with the winners\' ceremony. The deciding factor for victory is not the speed at which the drivers of the historic vehicles cover the route, but their evenness of pace and durability.
Audi Tradition will be spanning the distance from the past to the present by exhibiting two legendary racing cars and the latest design study. On the Piazza Sordello in Mantua, Tazio Nuvolari\'s racing car from 1938, the Auto Union Type D, and the 1937 Auto Union Type C will be standing next to the breathtakingly beautiful design study from Audi, bearing the name of its famous patron: the \"Audi Nuvolari quattro\".
Tazio Nuvolari was born in Mantua on 16th November 1892, and he died on 11th August 1953. He wrote motor-racing history in a way unequalled by almost any other driver in the first half of the century. Nuvolari\'s daring and his spectacular driving style became as much his trademark as the yellow pullover with the tortoise brooch on its polo neck that he wore for every race.
The delicate-looking Italian had started his career on two wheels, and Nuvolari\'s home was on the motorcycle racing circuit until 1926. After subsequently winning countless races in other makes of car, he switched in 1938 to Auto Union, which was running its 12-cylinder, mid-engined type D car in Grand Prix races and in hill climbs. His switch rescued the racing section of Auto Union from a severe crisis, into which it plunged following the tragic death of Bernd Rosemeyer during a speed record attempt at the end of January 1938. Tazio Nuvolari was the only one who was able to master the Auto Union racing car in the same way as Rosemeyer.
When he gained his first victory in 1938 it was a home win, so to speak. On 11th September 1938, Nuvolari crossed the line in first place at the end of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. He managed to win the top spot on the podium again a few weeks later at the Donnington circuit in England. Then, on 3rd September 1939 in Belgrade, Tazio Nuvolari achieved what was the very last Grand Prix victory by an Auto Union car.
(September 4, 2003)