A rear-mounted Beetle engine with a carburettor and a good 34 horsepower: that’s how the first Formula Vee event looked in 1966 on a European racing circuit, the Norisring in Nuremberg. One year later, Volkswagen joined the single-seater series for young drivers. A number of later Formula 1 world champions started out in Formula V, including Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg.
In 1979, Volkswagen stepped up its commitment to up-and-coming motor sport talent by supplying engines for the German Formula 3 Championship, and with no small degree of success: by 1994, Volkswagen drivers had secured 92 individual wins and seven titles. Among the winners were drivers like DTM record champion Bernd Schneider and the nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.
In 1990, a certain Michael Schumacher became the German Formula 3 champion – and became the best example of Volkswagen in Formula 3 serving as the perfect springboard into a major motorsport career. That same year, he also won the prestigious Macau Grand Prix, before going on to become a Formula 1 legend.
In 2007, Volkswagen built on its successful tradition as an engine supplier for the young single-seater drivers and unveiled a newly developed two-litre engine for the Formula 3 Euro Series at the Nürburgring. The first wins followed in the next season and the first title was won in 2010 by current DTM driver Edoardo Mortara.
Volkswagen drivers have been and continue to be successful throughout the world and have racked up almost 50 titles – including the hotly contested British Formula 3 Championship. In 2009, Daniel Ricciardo won. “Disco Dan“ has made it up to Formula 1.
Quick from the start: Max Verstappen, son of former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen, drove his debut season in single-seater racing for van Amersfoort Racing in 2014 – and was convincing from the word go. During initial tests, the then 16-year-old Dutchman attracted attention with top times. What followed is history: As the youngest Formula 1 driver of all time, the "Flying Dutchman" – trademark: mighty overtaking manoeuvres – create a real stir among the elite of the premium class and got his first win at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. Geweldig, Max!