Let’s introduce the unique and one of a kind Audi 5000CS Turbo Quattro. Back to the eighties and as motor sport proved to be one of the best way to sell on Mondays, Audi had a big program in Europe through the Group B World Rally Championship and the mighty and powerful Audi Sport Quattro S1 model. However and from 1982 onward, they slowly invaded the American motor sport scene through the crazy Pikes Peak Hill Climb taking the “Unlimited” class from 1982 and setting the best ever time recorded there both with the Quattro system and a woman with Michèle Mouton in 1985.
But rallying or hill climb wasn’t enough to sell cars in the USA and therefore, Audi needed something to market their cars and all their technology over there and that is where that particular car came together. The idea was pretty simple, they would build a car, to Nascar standard, put American racer Bobby Unser at the wheel. All that was based on the Audi 200 and would be re-badged as the 5000CS. It would tackle the closed-course speed record on a very special track for the American motor sport scene as it was no other than the Talladega high-banked superspeedway.
Was that the source of the Talladega Nights and the ballad of Ricky Bobby title ?! Who knows…
Back to the topic and technically speaking, the car looked pretty much stock but wasn’t at all. Any speed record attempt is about aerodynamic improvement and reducing the drag as much as possible so the best exemple was that the rearview mirrors were taken off the car and that’s all you would notice when having a quick view at it.
The whole car was reworked, lowered to 40mm in order to reduce the frontal area and centre of gravity, body panels were a little bit altered in order to get all possible edges as smooth as possible while keeping as close they could to the production version. Front and rear bumpers were replaced with kevlar ones, a little front spoiler and gurney were fitted, the doors and hoods made of light aluminium sheets and all windows were replaced with FAA type plastic.
All in all, it just weighed a tiny 1072kg and that was quite impressive when looking at the original car. Engine and drivetrain side, it was all about turbocharging, all-wheel drive and the Quattro system of course !
Still, it was quite a challenge to get it right as the high-banked superspeedway proved hard on both the machine and driver. Generated forces were of 2.2g for the car while taking the corners at maximum speed and that’s about 2.2 time its own weight ! Tyre wheel loads and suspension had to be at their finest with stiffer springs and dampers on the outer tyres and softer for the inner ones and all that while trying to carry the best rolling effect. Why ?! Well, in order to keep the car as flat as possible in any situation for maximum contact through the tyres and to enhance the aerodynamics and air flow both under and above the car.
But of course, it wasn’t all about anti-roll bars, spring or dampers. Weight distribution played a big role in this as well with all possible items being mounted as close as possible to the inner half of the car and that’s the left-hand side of the car as Talladega goes clockwise. Oil, fuel tank and battery are the items you think about first but the engine, gearbox, drivershaft and diffs were also mounted this way, about 50mm inside the inner side of the car which of course caused another batch of modification, the biggest one being a full new underbody and special driveshafts.
Last were the modifications made to get the driver as close to the inner left of the car with a new sitting position and special steering column and pedal box being designed in order to achieve so. The weight distribution resulted in 58% of the weight sitting on the front axle and 53% on the inner wheels of the car. Oh, and just to say, it sat on Michelin special rubber of 10 inches wide, quite narrow you would think but again, it’s all about reducing frontal area to better and lower the wind resistance.
All these modifications made the car a very fast one and the best exemple lies with the speed record it set back on the 24th of March 1986 with the car setting the one-lap closed course speed record for four-wheel drive vehicles, reaching a one-lap average speed of 331,243 km/h (206.825 mph) with Bobby and on the Talladega Speedway (4.280km/2.66miles). In situ, this would have put the car on the front row of the NASCAR Talladega 200 back then. #OhYeah
Here at speed and you know what ? #ThatNoise #FuckYeah
That wasn’t the end of their American dream, it was just their start, Bobby would smash the Pikes Peak Hill Climb record that year and later, Hans Stuck and Hurley Haywood would establish the brand through TransAm and IMSA GTO and there’s more about it here. The full story of Audi’s American “Unfair Advantage” here.