Ski’s the limit

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THE com­pany that has driven its cars up ski slopes has now de­vel­oped light­weight car­bon skis to come back down. In 1980 and 2005, Audi pro­duced TV com­mer­cials in which cars drove up ski slopes to pro­mote its qu­at­tro all-wheel drive sys­tem.

Audi’s ob­ses­sion with ski­ing be­gan in 1980 when the com­pany pro­duced TV com­er­cials fea­tur­ing rally ace Har­ald Demuth driv­ing an Audi 100 CS qu­at­tro al­most 50m up the 80 per cent gra­di­ent (37.5 de­gree) Kaipola ski jump in Fin­land.

To mark 25 years of qu­at­tro, they did it again in 2005 with Audi en­gi­neer Uwe Bleck driv­ing an A6 4.2 qu­at­tro up the same ski jump. Not once, but 11 times.

The only changes to the 2005 World Car of the Year were to the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, which was fixed in first gear to pre­vent the usual slight mo­men­tary power losses dur­ing gear changes, and to the wheels, which were fit­ted with rally-style tyres with 6mm spikes.

Now, the Audi Con­cept De­sign stu­dio has pro­duced skis with an outer shell of high-strength car­bon fi­bre en­clos­ing lay­ers of alu­minium and ti­ta­nium, and a wood core.

The first pro­to­types were tested on the slopes last month dur­ing the most fa­mous down­hill race in the world, the Hah­nenkamm race in Kitzbuhel.

MARK HINCHLIFFE

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