Bentley went into receivership later that year, ending its racing program, and was eventually purchased by Rolls-Royce.
Winning the race to power Formula 1 cars
Birkin died three years later after falling ill at the Tripoli Grand Prix, where he was driving a Maserati. While Audi has enjoyed recent success in the World Endurance Championship, its racing roots stretch back to the pre-war years when the mighty Auto Union team battled Mercedes-Benz for grand prix supremacy in the s. Audi and three other German car manufacturers formed the Auto Union company and they, along with Mercedes, were sponsored by the German state, as Adolf Hitler sought to showcase German engineering.
Before the end of the year, Stuck would also win in Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. In , Auto Union had their best season. Bernd Rosemeyer won three of the four races comprising the European Championship, winning the title, with Stuck second. The next two years saw Mercedes back on top, but Hermann Paul Muller won the European title—the final one before the Second World War—for Auto Union, despite winning just one of the championship grands prix. After the war, Auto Union continued to build road cars, but not racing ones.
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In the s, the company was purchased by Volkswagen, but the Audi brand name was retained. Ferdinand Porsche designed the first Volkswagen Beetle and also developed the Auto Union grand prix cars, so the Porsche company's ties to VW go beyond a simple shareholder relationship. From to , Porsche had a works F1 team, although it only raced two complete seasons— and In , behind Dan Gurney's three second-place finishes, Porsche ended the year third in the Constructors' Championship.
The following season, Gurney took the team's only victory, at the French Grand Prix, where he was more than a lap ahead of second-place man Tony Maggs. Despite finishing fifth in the constructors' standings—ahead of Ferrari—Porsche withdrew from F1 at the end of the season.
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Motor Sport Magazine 's Paul Fearnley wrote that:. F1, even in , was too expensive for [Porsche]—the British garagistes, with their bought-in drivetrains and modded off-the-shelf running gear, were reckoned to be spending half as much—while its challenger was too divorced from its road-going product to have much usefulness in either their improvement or promotion.
In , Porsche rejoined the sport as an engine supplier to McLaren. The next season, Alain Prost and Niki Lauda combined to win 12 of 16 races with Lauda taking the drivers' title by half-a-point. McLaren were not as dominant in , but did win a second straight constructors' title, with Prost taking the Drivers' Championship. The company made one more attempt as an engine supplier in But the Footwork team, powered by Porsche V12s, struggled to qualify for the early races of the season and suffered retirements whenever they did.
After the Mexican Grand Prix, the team switched to Ford engines, ending Porsche's involvement in the sport.
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The last VW brand to compete in F1 was Lamborghini although it was not owned by Volkswagen at the time. From to , Lamborghini provided V12 engines to a variety of teams, including Larousse, Lotus, Ligier and Minardi. After more than 30 years of competing in Formula 1, Williams is recognized and one of the most successful organizations in sport.
As a racing team, Williams is unique in modern Formula 1. Striving for engineering excellence, Williams expanded its interests beyond just racing and established Williams Advanced Engineering and Williams Hybrid Power with the goal of adapting Formula 1 technology for commercial applications. Team History Photo: Williams F1.
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