SEP 16th 2014

Video: AVUS and an average speed of 162mph... in 1937

Another magical Goodwood Revival has just finished and among the many jaw-dropping moments, Jay Esterer’s 1 minute 19.4 second lap (the fastest of the weekend) in his Chinook-Chevrolet Mk2 stands out. That works out at an average speed nudging 110mph, and just dips under Goodwood’s ‘official’ record jointly held by Jim Clark and Sir Jackie Stewart of 1 minute 20.4 seconds.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-13505,_Berlin,_Automobilrennen_auf_der_AvusAn average speed that high is certainly nothing to be sniffed at, however talk around the GRR office soon turned to other notable high speed circuits… of which the Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungsstraße (or AVUS for short) was certainly one. Two 6-mile straights joined by a hairpin at one end and from 1937 onwards a 43-degree banked turn at the other absolutely guaranteed two things – speed, and danger.

Speeds of up to 240mph in fact, with German driver Herman Lang averaging over 160mph on his way to winning the 1937 AVUS GP in a Mercedes-Benz W25 ‘streamliner’. A staggering crowd of 380,000 cheered him on, including some brave souls leaning over the edge of the banking despite the lack of any sort of barrier!

Alas an ‘AVUS Revival’ is impossible as the high speed banking was demolished in 1967, but thanks to a few videos online (including the snapshot above) we can still witness the heroics performed at this high-speed road-course.



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