This year's Mille Miglia will be partially sponsored by Audi and the quad-ring crew is tapping Audi Tradition to pull six vehicles from the automaker's storied history out of the museum and onto the road. In attendance this year will be three Wanderer W25s from 1936, 1927 and 1938, each powered by the original, 55 hp engines, along with one DKW 3=6 and two DKW Monzas. With that kind of historic iron participating in the 1,000-mile rally, Audi needs competent drivers behind the wheel. While we can't attest to the driving prowess of Rupert Stadler, Audi's board chair; Stephan Grühsem, VAG's head of communications; famous German actor Tomas Heinze; or Toni Melfi, head of communications for Audi, we're sure that two-time World Rally Champion Christian Geistdörfer won't have a problem piloting any of the vehicles that helped to forge Audi's legacy.
Hit the jump for all the details on the drivers and the cars.
Audi Tradition with six cars at the Mille Miglia
* AUDI AG sponsors the world's most famous vintage car rally for the first time
AUDI AG will be one of the main sponsors at the Mille Miglia for the first time. From 15 to 17 May 2008, Audi Tradition will take six historic automobiles to Brescia, where the 1,000-mile race across half of Italy starts and finishes. Taking part for the first time this year will be Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. He will be piloting a Wanderer W 25.
The three Wanderer W 25 cars from the years 1936, 1937 and 1938 are a quite magnificent sight. The 55 hp vehicles have already taken part in the world's most famous vintage car rally in recent years, following in the footsteps of other iconic vehicles from the brand's post-war history: the DKW 3=6 special class F91, for example, which won the touring car category up to 1,300 ccm at the Mille Miglia in 1954. This three-cylinder car achieved a more than respectable average speed of 104.95 km/h from just 34 hp and 900 ccm. The 1956 DKW Monza will be at the historic Mille Miglia for the third time. This year, Audi Tradition will be starting with two DKW Monzas.
The cockpits of the historic vehicles from Audi's past have a top-class crew. First and foremost Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, who will pilot one of the Wanderers. The other two Wanderer W 25 cars will be driven by Stephan Grühsem, Head of Communications at Volkswagen AG, and Toni Melfi, Head of Communications at AUDI AG. Stephan Grühsem's team will be rounded off by the famous German actor Thomas Heinze. In one of the two DKW Monzas, Christian Geistdörfer, double Rally-World Champion, will be co-pilot of Audi Head of Design, Wolfgang Egger.
The four rings of the Audi badge symbolise the brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, which were later combined under the umbrella of Auto Union. Auto Union and NSU, which merged in 1969, made many significant contributions towards the development of the car. AUDI AG was formed from Audi NSU Auto Union AG in 1985. Together with the two traditional companies Auto Union GmbH and NSU GmbH, Audi Tradition nurtures and presents the deep and diverse history of Audi. The Audi museum mobile at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt is open daily from Monday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.