That man, of course, was Roland Gumpert, the mastermind behind Audi's domination of the rally scene in the 1980s. That mid-engined supercar was the Gumpert Apollo, a devastatingly quick (though aesthetically challenged) exotic that could keep the pace with the best that Maranello and Woking could throw at it. Gumpert momentarily went under a couple of years ago, but now it's back with new investors and a new product that aims to correct that historical wrong. Inexplicably, it's called the Explosion, and it just debuted here at the Geneva Motor Show.
The first product from the reborn GSM Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH, the Gumpert Explosion is a front-engined, all-wheel drive rally machine for the road that's closer to what its namesake developed at Audi Sport all those years ago than with the Apollo he made in between. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbo four (presumably sourced from his old friends in Ingolstadt) that's so highly tuned that it cranks out a massive 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. If that's not enough, there's also a planned Explosion S derivative, which adds one cylinder and nets 503 horsepower and 461 lb-ft from its 2.5 liters.
With a tubular frame and carbon-fiber chassis overlaid in aluminum and fiberglass bodywork, the standard Explosion is quoted as having a 0-62 mph time of 3-seconds flat and a top speed in excess of 300 km/h (186 mph). Best of all, it's no showstand princess: the reborn Gumpert is taking orders now at €105,000 before taxes and delivery, equivalent to $144k at today's exchange rates. Scope it out in the press release below and our gallery of live images above from the floor of the Geneva Palexpo.
The GUMPERT explosion takes the stage
It is the advent of a new sports car, set to be premiered at the Geneva Motor Show 2014. In this Roland Gumpert is continuing a never-ending story, one that so often provides moments in which we are left amazed and astounded. One of these moments is called explosion, and it is here and now.
In this two-seater sports car, Roland Gumpert satisfies the expectations of all those who believe that this kind of car is madness. And it's true. But this time it is not about a racing sport as a flipped-over airplane on wheels, even if the GUMPERT explosion would be more than capable of zipping round the circuit. It is far more serious. A car with 4-wheel drive, distributing its 420 hp and a torque of 520Nm over all four wheels. A start like a catapult, banging on the door of 0 to 100 km/h inside of 3.0 seconds. These values have more in common with motorbikes. And it comes as no surprise that a '3' is first in line when it comes to maximum speed. Given its components, the purpose of this car's manufacture is the sole logical, reasonable conclusion: the thrill of driving with positive and negative acceleration values otherwise seen only in the confines of racing sport. And yet it is entirely a GUMPERT – built for the road. It doesn't take long to work out where this car feels most comfortable, seemingly suggesting winding roads, mountains and coastlines. We can fairly assume that GUMPERT explosion is one of those cars whose brake lights disappear from our field of vision as if they were never there.
These values are delivered based on Gumpert's typical consistently rigid, lightweight construction using a tubular frame and bodywork made of a carbon, glass fibre-reinforced plastic and aluminium mix. The communal pool of ideas by young engineers and designers, combined with Roland Gumpert's racing sport experience and uncompromising style, were also preserved. The designer Martin Frank is responsible for the fine lines on the GUMPERT explosion.
What is presented here is the first pre-series model to be finished; the handcrafted work involved in series production, along with individual manufacture, has already commenced. The first models in the premiere series are planned for this year. Starting at a new price of €105,000, the sports car delivers what a large swathe of motor sports enthusiasts are looking for. "We want to convey to all those drivers who love motor sports what it feels like to sit behind the wheel of a rally car", says Roland Gumpert.
The vehicle was developed and constructed by a small team from GSM Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH centred around Mr Gumpert, based out of the interim workshops in and around Ingolstadt. Visit us at the Geneva Motor Show, stand 2057, GSM Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur. We are delighted to answer any press queries under firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gumpert Story.
Always look ahead. A qualified mechanical and trial engineer, Roland Gumpert started working in vehicle development at Audi AG in 1969. The man responsible for the Audi 50's testing and model support advanced through a series of positions to become head of department in 'advance development' and 'chassis and assemblies testing'. Roland Gumpert took the reins at Audio Sport and Special Development in 1981. Over the following years he and his Audi Team won several constructor's and driver's world championships in rally sport. These legendary Audi victories continue to define the success story of the Quattro, exceeding even the wildest expectations at what just a few years previously had been a fairly stuffy vehicle mark.
And Roland Gumpert holds true to this philosophy even today. It seemed natural that after so many years working for Audi all over the world he would set up his own motor vehicle company, Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur. This is where he created and produced the GUMPERT apollo, which in 2009, coming in at a time of 7:11:57, set the record on the North curve.
The Gumpert story continues!
The GUMPERT explosion takes the stage of the Nürburgring for street legal vehicles with combustion engine and without additional electrical driving control. And in this vehicle Roland Gumpert introduced racecourse technology to the kind of driver who really wanted to feel what it means to drive cars at fast speeds, even without membership in a racing team or possession of a racing license. This car was a ready-to-race with number plate, one that gets you all in a lather from the pure exertion of driving and because otherwise you would simply be too slow.
So now in 2014, Roland Gumpert presents the explosion, built by the new GSM Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH. A catapult start for cruisers with lead feet on the gas pedal. A car with rally technology, entirely to Roland Gumpert's taste and clad in the guise of an elegant, imaginative boyhood dream, built for winding roads and ice cream parlours. Roland Gumpert is making new dreams come true.