Many will know that ŠKODA is one of the longest-running car manufacturers and that the origins of the company were around bicycles, but did you know ŠKODA has been competing in motorsport for 120 years?
The long history with motorsport began in 1901, in a motor vehicle race through Paris, Aachan, Hannover and finishing in Berlin. A 1,196km dash race that featured 110 differing motor vehicles. It was eventful, to say the least with only 48 vehicles out of 110 reaching the finishing line, with 57 accidents and unfortunately 28 deaths. There were some problems with the times recorded by Laurin and Klement due to finishing in the early hours of the morning. This first race started the love affair with motorsport that is continuing 120 years later.
Following the first race, Laurin and Klement continued to enter their motorcycles in races, and in 1903 they won 32 out of 34 races. In June 1905, Václav Vondřich’s won the ‘Coupe Internationale’ (the unofficial world championships). As Laurin and Klement continued to innovate and expand into the world of car racing they took on the challenge of the Alpine Rally. By 1914, they had racked up five victories in a row which was unprecedented for the times and was unmatched by any other vehicle manufacturers of that era.
As Laurin and Klement transitioned into the ŠKODA we now know, the relationship with motorsport and rallying continued. In 1936 the now-iconic ŠKODA Popular Sport came first in the Monte Carlo Rally. Starting in Athens, the Popular raced through 3,852km of European roads before crossing the line in Monaco achieving first place. This was the start of a long tradition of ŠKODA entering the Monte Carlo rally, a legacy of which is still recognised to this day via the Monte Carlo editions of current Skoda vehicles.
The ŠKODA Octavia TS completed a hat trick of Monte Carlo wins between 1961 and 1963. 30 years later the ŠKODA Favorit outdid the Octavia TS by winning the rally four times between 1991-1994. To this day ŠKODA still utilises the technology and designs of its road vehicles to craft amazing and successful Motorsport cars. The Octavia continued to win in extreme African rallies during the early 2000s and to date, the ŠKODA Fabia has taken on the pressure of delivering successful racing campaigns.
The ŠKODA Fabia dominated rally championships especially between 2009 and 2014 where the team took 50 national and international titles. The car continues to rack up victories in the WRC 2 for both the ŠKODA racing team and customer teams. In 2019, the ŠKODA works team won the world title in the new WRC2 Pro category with the new ŠKODA Fabia Rally 2 Evo car.
Now you might be asking why all this motorsport history is important and why is it relevant to everyone? Well, the simple answer is that the 120-year love affair with motorsport has helped ŠKODA drive forward innovation in both design and performance of its vehicles. This something that you continue to experience and see for yourself in the current and emerging ŠKODA vehicles range. Especially if you own a current vRS or a Monte Carlo edition of a ŠKODA vehicle, you will truly feel the performance thanks to the continuing heritage of successful racing campaigns.
If you haven’t experienced the joys of driving a performance-based ŠKODA vRS or Monte Carlo vehicle and want to see for yourself how 120 years of motor racing has impacted today's vehicles, why not contact our sales team to arrange a test drive of the latest models?