Audi Nuvolari quattro on the legendary Le Mans circuit in 2003

The Audi Nuvolari quattro, the vision of a “GT of tomorrow”, was expected to be presented to motorsport fans before the Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Saturday 14 June 2003. Michele Mouton, the only woman ever to win a round of the World Rally Championship, at the wheel. Mouton’s co-driver on this stage, the scene of Audi’s three historical triumphs between 2000 and 2002, is Walter de Silva, as Director of Design for the Audi Group and one of the fathers of the Nuvolari quattro. In addition to its drive on the legendary high-speed track, the Nuvolari quattro made a guest appearance at the drivers’ parade in Le Mans town centre on Friday before the race.

The naming of the Audi study Nuvolari quattro pays homage to a racing legend, which in 1933, exactly 70 years ago, won the Le Mans 24 Hour race: Tazio Nuvolari. The graceful Italian, born 1892 in Mantua and died in 1953, wrote motorsport history like no other driver during the first half of the century. His spectacular driving style became his trademark, as did the yellow pullover that he always wore whilst racing. In 1938 Nuvolari changed teams, becoming works driver for Auto Union, and in 1939 he succeeded in winning the last Grand Prix for an Auto Union.

Audi Nuvolari quattro – this concept car combines pioneering technology and the driving dynamics of a high performance GT car with the future style and form of Audi cars. Following its début at the Geneva Motor Show, the 2+2 Coupé with the proportions of a classical GT will be driven for the first time on a racing circuit in front of more than hundred thousand spectators.

The most powerful engine ever developed by Audi for use in a production car ensures adequate propulsion: a five-litre bi-turbo V10 with FSI direct-fuel injection, producing 441 kW (600 hp), and mobilising a maximum torque of 750 Newton metres. The Nuvolari quattro races from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 4.1 seconds.

Innovative technology is visible everywhere in the Audi Nuvolari quattro. The coated aluminium body is constructed as Audi Space Frame, ensuring an outstanding power to weight ratio, which simultaneously offers a high degree of stiffness: the basis for the exceptional handling qualities of this GT.

A 6-speed automatic gearbox incorporating shift-by-wire-technology makes the appropriate regulation of power and torque. When desired, the driver can change gear actively by using the steering wheel mounted shift paddles.

It goes without saying that for such a powerful Audi the transmission of power is made by quattro permanent all-wheel drive. In keeping with the standard, the eye-catching large cross-drilled brake discs of the racing brake system are visible behind the 9-spoke wheels.

The aluminium suspension of the Nuvolari quattro lives up to the demands made by a high-performance Gran Turismo. Together with the adaptive air suspension the four link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear suspension ensure excellent handling characteristics and typical sports car agility. The Nuvolari quattro also qualifies as long distance cruiser due to the high degree of comfort assured by the air suspension.

Audi clearly demonstrates the marque’s future path with the appearance of the Nuvolari quattro in Le Mans: A future, symbolised by an uncompromising sporting nature, that combines the highest technical demands with unique design and accentuated elegance.

Text/Photos - Audi