AVUS TO­DAY

F1 Racing - - COVER STORY -

AVUS is by no means one of the most evoca­tive of the old Euro­pean cir­cuits.

There is a strik­ing memo­rial just north of the cir­cuit, with a time­line of the track and two mo­tor­bikes on a stylised bank­ing. But the iconic bank­ing it­self was de­mol­ished in 1967, and the “ground-level” North Curve (used for the DTM un­til the track held its last race in 1998) is noth­ing much to look at.

The dis­tinc­tive con­trol tower is still there, look­ing much more prom­i­nent than in photos from 1937 or 1959, when it was dwarfed, try­ing to peek out from be­hind the mas­sive bank­ing.

Cu­ri­ously, the grand­stand just south of the tower is sub­ject to a her­itage or­der, but is locked and ver­boten, so is left to stare blankly out over the busy au­to­bahn.

Of course, any fa­mous track – even one as no­to­ri­ous as AVUS - is still worth a look for most en­thu­si­asts. But if you nd your­self in Ber­lin and you’re in­ter­ested in mo­tor rac­ing history, make sure you also visit Dahlem ceme­tery, just a few kilo­me­tres from AVUS. It is one of the only ceme­ter­ies in the world to hold the graves of two Grand Prix driv­ers who were killed at the wheel.

Bernd Rose­meyer (1909-1938), one of the great­est driv­ers in the history of the sport, has an ex­ceed­ingly plain grave. Iron­i­cally, his old Auto Union team-mate Ernst von Delius (1912-1937), a jour­ney­man driver at best, has a much more or­nate head­stone. They are buried just a few me­tres apart.

Nei­ther of them was killed at AVUS. But they are both echoes of a by­gone era in the sport, a time when it was thought that con­struct­ing a track as con­cep­tu­ally ex­treme as AVUS seemed like an em­i­nently sen­si­ble idea.

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