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Tuesday, 6 September 2016
Legendary Audi racer Frank Biela will be reunited with the A4 SuperTourer at Knockhill’s SuperTouring Festival.
Legendary Audi racer Frank Biela will be reunited with game-changing A4 SuperTourer at Knockhill’s SuperTouring Festival this weekend
Audi race ace Frank Biela to be guest of honour at Scotland’s Knockhill Circuit for celebration of touring car racing on September 11
Biela will reacquaint himself with all-conquering A4 quattro SuperTourer on the circuit where he won and set the fastest race lap for Audi in the BTCC twenty years ago
Dominance of A4 quattro SuperTourer in 1996 season led to further weight penalties in 1997 and an eventual ban on all-wheel-drive from 1998
Thoroughbred touring cars from the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties will go toe-to-toe in STCC finale during the weekend
Twenty years after he drove the governing body of the British Touring Car Championship to distraction with his all-conquering Audi A4 quattro SuperTourer, racing legend Frank Biela is to be reunited with the outlawed all-wheel-drive sidekick at this weekend‘s David Leslie SuperTouring Festival.
The 52-year-old, who can reflect on five Le Mans 24-hour wins and a host of Touring Car race victories in international championships, will be the guest of honour at the evocative festival, which will bring legendary Touring Cars from across the decades to Scotland’s famous Knockhill Circuit.
At the Knockhill round of the 1996 BTCC, Biela recorded the fastest lap in his A4 quattro SuperTourer, and went on to win one of the two races staged that weekend. That year he contributed six further fastest lap times to the total of eight achieved by the A4 in the 26-race series, and took pole on no less than six occasions. Eight race wins secured the Drivers’ Championship title for his heroic efforts and, ably assisted by his team-mate John Bintcliffe, the Manufacturers’ Championship title for Audi.
Versus a field of front-wheel-driven competitors, the A4 SuperTouring with its game-changing Audi quattro all-wheel-drive technology undoubtedly held the trump card. In all, the A4 quattro SuperTouring entered seven national championships on three continents in 1996 – and won them all.
As a result, the configuration that was believed to have facilitated the virtual whitewash by Biela and Bintcliffe in the BTCC was taken to task by the championship organisers. They imposed various weight penalties on the car for the 1997 season, and this encumbrance meant that Biela initially struggled to make headway in the series that year. Midway through the race calendar, however, the weight penalty was halved, and Biela was again given his head, fighting back to take second place overall in the Drivers’ Championship, and helping Audi to achieve second place overall. In 1998, all-wheel drive was largely banished from European touring car competition.
Audi UK is proud to number an A4 quattro SuperTourer among the many cherished gems in its Heritage Fleet, and this car will be on static display at Knockhill, as will an Audi 80 GLE replica car in Stirling Moss colours which campaigned in the 1980 British Saloon Car Championship. Mr Biela will, however, have ample opportunity to take a blast down memory lane in the 296PS, 2.0-litre A4 thanks to a private owner who has kindly entrusted his ex-Audi Sport car to the German race ace for parade laps of the circuit.
Biela’s evocative sortie will be one highlight of what promises to be an exceptional spectacle for fans of Touring Car racing. The Historic Sports Car Club will also be staging the thrilling finale of its Super Touring Car Championship as part of the event, bringing thoroughbred Touring Cars from the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties back to the grid for classic bumper-to-bumper racing in the best traditions of this much-loved competition format.
The legacy and dominance of quattro in the SuperTouring championship and a multitude of other motorsport disciplines from the 1980s to the present day continues to drive unwavering demand for the legendary all-wheel drive system.
Today, a quattro variant is available to order in every single one of the 13 Audi model silhouettes and a third of all Audi road cars sold in the UK are equipped with quattro all-wheel drive, comfortably ahead of the German premium competition.