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The Avus turns 90

Back in 1921, the construction works on Berlin’s Avus, ‘Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungs-Straße’, Europe’s first road built solely for cars, were completed. From 1922 to 1998, it also was the venue of motor-racing events held in the former imperial capital and today’s capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. Then, in the year 2000, the Lausitzring replaced the legendary Avus that just failed to meet the latest safety standards.

“The Avus was a unique circuit that can’t be compared with any other motor-racing venue on our planet,” said ITR board member Walter Mertes who raced at the Avus in his active DTM days himself. “At the Avus, slip stream was the key factor. Team-mates used to provide one another with slip stream to jointly achieve better lap times. On the other hand, the track was tricky. The tarmac was very bumpy and at the high speeds achieved there, controlling the car represented hard work. And it was crucial to not miss the right point in time when it came to braking into the hairpin from about 300kph.” At the same time, the Avus race also had its special features aloof of the track. “When DTM made its stop in Berlin, the entire paddock met at the ‘Ku‘damm’, in the evenings“, recalled Mertes. “The paddock just didn’t offer enough space for erecting the hospitalities and so, the manufacturers and partners used the different restaurants in the city centre.”

From 1984 to 1995, the Avus was the venue of rounds of ‘Old DTM’. In 1984, Manfred Trint (Ford Mustang) and Olaf Manthey (Rover Vitesse) made history as first DTM-race winners at the Avus. The biggest number of wins (three) was secured by Hans-Joachim Stuck for Audi in 1990 and 1991. Two wins were clinched by Klaus Niedzwiedz for Ford (1985 and 1989), Frank Biela for Ford and Audi (1987 and 1991), Johnny Cecotto for Mercedes-Benz (1988), Roland Asch for Mercedes-Benz (1993), Stefano Modena for Alfa Romeo (1994) and Kurt Thiim for Mercedes-Benz (1995).