Overview and Philosophy
Audi manufactures an interesting and diverse range of models from city superminis such as the A1, to high end sports cars such as the R8, right through to crossover SUV’s such as the Q7 and large executive cars such as the A8, each sticking to the company’s “Vorsprung durch Technik” (“Advancement through Technology”) philosophy of engineering. Audi is now one of the UK’s leading premium automotive brands, first reaching the milestone of 100,000 new car sales in the UK in 2008 and worldwide sales of more than 1.3 million new cars in 2011.
Founded in Zwickau, Germany in 1910 by August Horch, the first model was the Audi Type A Sport-Phaeton. As Horch had previously founded eponymous vehicle manufacturers A. Horch & Cie and Horch Automobil-Werke GmbH, he was unable to use his own name for his new company due to copyright reasons. Audi is the Latin translation of Hark, or Horch in German.
Audi has been a prominent force in the world of motorsport for most of its history, however they enjoyed one of their most notable successes in the 1980’s with the four–wheel drive turbocharged Quattro, winning rallies and races across the world including the 1983 and 1984 drivers’ titles and the 1982 and 1984 manufacturers’ titles. Audi also enjoyed success at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the 1980’s with the S1, setting a number of impressive records. The S1 inspired the Audi ‘S’ cars, which are still seen today within the main range, representing models with upgraded performance.
Audi moved into circuit racing in America in the late 1980’s but returned to Europe to enter Touring and Super Touring motor racing in the early nineties. Nowadays, Audi is most noticeably active in events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it has had an impressive number of victories. In 1999, Audi built prototype roadster and coupe R8s for events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it won in three consecutive years (2000-2002). They were also victorious in 2004, with the top three finishers all driving R8s.
In 2006, Audi won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with their new twin-turbocharged direct injection diesel engined R10 TDI. Audi also took the title of the first ever diesel powered sports can to win the 12 Hours of Sebring. More recently, Audi has once again been successful with the R18, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011 and 2012.