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Avus

The meaning of «avus»

The Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungsstraße ('Automobile traffic and training road'), known as AVUS, is a public road in Berlin, Germany. Opened in 1921, it is the oldest controlled-access highway in Europe. Until 1998, it was also used as a motor racing circuit. Today, the AVUS forms the northern part of the Bundesautobahn 115.

The highway is located in the southwestern districts of Berlin, linking the Stadtring at the Funkturm junction in Charlottenburg with Nikolassee. It runs through the Grunewald forest along the historic Königsweg road from Charlottenburg to Potsdam and the parallel Berlin-Blankenheim railway line.

While normal for a road, it is unusually shaped for a race track as it is essentially two long straights in the form of a dual carriageway, with a hairpin corner at each end. The north curve featured a steep banking from 1937 to 1967. While the original layout was 19 km (12 mi) long, the southern turn was moved several times, to shorten the track to 8.3 km (5.2 mi), then 8.1 km (5.0 mi) without the banking, 4.8 km (3.0 mi) and finally 2.6 km (1.6 mi).

In 1907 the Kaiserlicher Automobilclub (KAC) association devised a fee-financed circuit, as both a motor-sport venue and a testing track for the motor industry. A developing company was established in 1909; however, a lack of finances and official authorisations delayed the start of construction until spring 1913. During the Great War works discontinued, and though Russian Army prisoners were temporarily employed in AVUS's construction, the track was still unfinished. From 1920 the remaining road work was financed by business man and politician Hugo Stinnes. The circuit, including a gate building and several stands, was inaugurated during the first post-war International Automobile Exhibition (IAA) with a motor race on 24 September 1921. Afterwards the road was open to the public at a charge of ten Marks.

At the time of opening, AVUS was ​19 1⁄2 km (12 miles) long – each straight being approximately half that length, and joined at each end by flat, large-radius curves, driven counter-clockwise.

While the Grand Prix motor racing scene still evaded German tracks, the circuit from 1922 was also the site of motorcycle races. On 11 July 1926 the track played host to the first international German Grand Prix for sports cars, organised by the Automobilclub von Deutschland, the former KAC. The 1921 roadway turned out to be insufficient: Already, in practice two days before, the young Italian driver Enrico Platé (not to be confused with the Argentinian driver and team owner of the same name) was involved in a crash that killed his mechanic. During the race, in heavy rain, two track marshals died when Adolf Rosenberger lost control and hit the indicator board and the timekeeper's box, with a third employee succumbing to his injuries in hospital a few hours later. The Grand Prix was won by his fellow team-member, the so-far unknown Mercedes-Benz salesman Rudolf Caracciola, from Dresden, driving a private, eight-cylinder "Monza" Kompressor type. The fastest lap of 161 km/h (100 mph) was set by Ferdinando Minoia in an OM.

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