Special exhibition in Berlin

Monday, 21/11/2016

Special exhibition in Berlin attracts more than 190,000 visitors.

“50 Years of Excitement” was a resounding success: more than 190,000 visitors flocked to the special exhibition to mark the 50th birthday of Volkswagen Motorsport. The retrospective featuring historic Volkswagen Motorsport vehicles ran from 5 September to 30 October 2016 at the “DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum” in Berlin. Its informative insights and interactive exhibits covering various aspects of the sport impressed visitors from around the world and brought the fascination of motorsport to life, making it tangible for young and old alike. Hands-on exhibits included a slot car track and a WRC simulator offering the public a chance to try and beat the time set by Volkswagen’s rally driver Sébastien Ogier.

Tuesday, 20/09/2016

Into the clouds armed with a cassette recorder.

“I still have the contracts at home somewhere,” he says. Back in 1977, Klaus-Joachim – “Jochi” for short – Kleint was the first rally driver to be given an official Volkswagen works contract. He went on to create some of the most memorable moments in the history of Volkswagen Motorsport. We met up with the man from Hamburg at the official opening of the “50 Years of Excitement” exhibition at the “DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum”.

It is hard to believe he is 68 years old. Kleint still loves and lives for motorsport. Among other things, he works as an instructor at the Audi Driving Experience. “You stay in training that way,” he says in a typical Hamburg dialect. Kleint is lean and looks in excellent condition. Little appears to have changed since 1987, when he started his 650-hp twin-engine Golf in Colorado at over 2,800 metres above sea level on Pikes Peak, before taking on the legendary hillclimb on one of the highest mountains in the world. His co-driver back then: a cassette recorder …

Mr Kleint, you drove one of the most dangerous routes in the world in a twin-engine Golf. Constantly dicing with the precipice whilst wrestling with the 650-hp power house – how did that feel, and what were the main difficulties?
Jochi Kleint: Pikes Peak is one of the highest mountains in the world. Back then, we used to race on gravel and started at 2,800 metres above sea level. You have to be incredibly fit. Overcoming the altitude was an extreme problem – it is difficult to breath at 4,300 metres. Another issue was the fact that you were not able to practice before the event, but only on three official practice days, when the mountain was divided into three sections and the various classes were assigned certain sections. We were not able to decide for ourselves which section we wanted to practice. That was difficult.

How did you prepare – did you have a specific practice routine?
Jochi Kleint: There was no specific practice, as such. I checked out the mountain beforehand in a car I hired out in America. They used to check all the tourists on the downhill section, to ensure that they did not drive to fast and the brakes did not fail just before the main road. (laughs)

How difficult is it to drive a twin-engine Golf?
Jochi Kleint: I really had to concentrate hard to ensure that both engines were running synchronously. They did, but the load always changed whenever you shifted down on fast sections. When you regained the throttle response and got back on the gas, there were different engine speeds. You also had to make a conscious effort to straighten the car up as you came out of a corner. You had to take multiple factors into account to drive a car like that.


How did the spectators react back then?
Jochi Kleint: There were big crowds at the ‘Race To The Clouds’. The Americans obviously bought into it and were excited by the two engines in the Golf. That was a great story for Volkswagen Motorsport and the Volkswagen brand.

How much fear or respect did you have for this challenge – and what do you think about that drive now?
Jochi Kleint: I have fond recollections and would happily do it again – any time! It is an incredible challenge. I was lucky enough to enjoy it when it was still held on gravel. Nowadays it is asphalted, which will also be interesting. I was not afraid as I was ascending. You should not be nervous anyway. I had respect. That is a better way of putting it.

You did not have a co-driver back then. Instead, you recorded your pace notes and played them on a cassette recorder. If you were to do it again, would you use a recorder or take a ‘real’ co-driver with you?
Jochi Kleint: If the layout has not changed too much, I would still know the majority off by heart. I could drive it with my eyes closed. I recorded the pace notes on the cassette recorder as I was crawling up the mountain in the hire car. I then recorded a faster version when I was able to practice on the actual route. To allow me to do that, I fastened a recording device around my neck. I obviously had to speak much louder, but it worked.

Wednesday, 14/09/2016

Wednesday, 07/09/2016

Sébastien Ogier at official opening.

Under starters’ orders in Berlin: the interactive special exhibition that is part of the celebrations of 50 Years of Volkswagen Motorsport begins. From Monday, 5th September, the doors in the DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum are open for visitors. Entrance to the exhibition is free.

The exhibition will officially open on Wednesday, 7th September 2016. As announced at the premiere, the new Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets, world rally champion Sébastien Ogier and Volkswagen representative Hans-Joachim “Strietzel” Stuck will be joined by other Volkswagen Motorsport aces, such as Timo Gottschalk or Klaus-Joachim “Jochi” Kleint. The spotlight will be on some unique exhibits at this retrospective, including: Kleint’s twin-engine Golf for the iconic Pikes Peak hillclimb, the Race Touareg 3 that Gottschalk and Nasser Al-Attiyah drove to victory in the 2011 Dakar Rally, and the current world championship-winning car, the Polo R WRC from the World Rally Championship. Visitors will be guided through the successful history of Volkswagen Motorsport by informative and interactive exhibits, from Monday, 5th September, to 30th October.

Fascinating special exhibition at
“DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum”.

Showcasing a spectacular history: Volkswagen is staging a special, interactive exhibition looking back on its history of motor racing at DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum. The retrospective exhibition, which can be seen from 05 September to 30 October 2016 at the Volkswagen Group Forum on Friedrichstraße/Unter den Linden, marks the 50th anniversary of Volkswagen Motorsport. The exhibition features eight dynamic exhibits, accompanied by various interactive modules allowing visitors to experience the fascination of five decades of motorsport through video, audio and picture installations.

The spotlight is on eight unique specimens from across the history of Volkswagen Motorsport, from the Golf that won the Group A World Rally Championship and the Race Touareg that enjoyed such great success at the Rally Dakar to the current WRC-winning Polo and the twin-engine Golf that made such an impression on the iconic Pikes Peak hillclimb. As well as Volkswagen’s rally legends, circuit racing exhibits will also feature at DRIVE. These include a 1960s Formula Vee single-seater, which kick-started the brand’s motorsport history, and a present-day Golf GTI TCR from Volkswagen’s successful customer racing programme.

Informative insights into teamwork, technology, sound, service, adventure and success make the fascination of motorsport a tangible experience for visitors. Interactive elements guide them through the successful, and at times extraordinary, history of Volkswagen Motorsport. The visitors are led through the exhibition in various stages.