The Rookie Road Tripper Visits The Audi Forum In Ingolstadt

Audi Forum Ingolstadt
When you are already on a 7 hour long road trip, adding an additional hour for a detour counts for peanuts. And so I found myself in Ingolstadt in the middle of July since I was already on my way to Stuttgart and when I had noticed that Ingolstadt isn't too far off, I decided to take the leap. This detour would also be in the spirit of the journey, as one of two reasons to drive to Stuttgart was soothing my endurance racing loving heart by visiting the Porsche museum. Thus, visiting the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt - a manufacturer who dominated Le Mans for over a decade would mirror the sentiment.

Getting to the Audi Forum ... 

... is relatively easy when you come from the Autobahn: use the exit "Ingolstadt-Nord". Then you take the first right turn and follow the main road for approximately 3 kilometers until you turn right again. At this point you are going to see the first buildings that belong to the Audi AG.

Already on the Autobahn, you are going to see brown signs that help to guide you. In addition, alongside the vast estate of Audi, there are further directions depending on what department you want to visit. Hint: the museum is roughly at the halfway point.

Once you managed so far, Audi provides a parking spot for its visitors. In case you are slightly ashamed of parking your hatchback of a Spanish brand next to a Ferrari or your brain has been turned to mush by 5 hours of driving, you can turn left at the intersection and no more than 500 meters later you'll find the parking lot of a cemetery.

Should you be one of a public transport disposition, there is a bus station that drops you right in front of the gates of the museum.

Audi Forum Ingolstadt

The museum ... 

... costs only 2€. This made me feel a little bit awkward as I handed over a 100€ bill. After getting a fair amount of change, I was sent up to the third floor.

The museum is build in such a way that you wander through it starting at the top, where you walk in a circle though the humble beginnings of the engine and Audi. As you wander further along you learn more about the history of Audi and how it became the four famous rings that we know nowadays.

Along the way, you are presented with various classic cars, and motorbikes. There are interactive elements in the museum as well, and with a little tap on the screen you learn what used to be "Wanderer Werke AG."

Audi Forum Ingolstadt
Audi Forum Ingolstadt
On the second floor, you are taken along the more modern years of Audi's past - stretching from 1946 to 2000. Until this point I had never had the chance to see a quattro in the flesh but now I finally understand its appeal. It's this little cute hatchback - and everyone knows that I love a good hatchback - that could eat you without a second thought. I love it, I want it.

red Audi quattro in the Audi Forum Ingolstadt

What becomes obvious quite quickly is that Audi is proud of its motorsport history. A whole excursion is dedicated to this heritage - offering a look at their quattro ralley car, touring cars and even the R18 e-tron quattro, which is Audi's last entry before they pulled out of the WEC in 2016.

2016-spec R18 e-tron quattro - LMP1 at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt
Even though, Audi has fewer fingers in the pies nowadays, the museum dedicates a big part to their endurance history. A display that stretches over all floors, showcasts all their cars that have won Le Mans. The first being from 2000 (driven by Biela, Kristensen, and Pirro) and the latest from 2014 (driven by Fässler, Lotterer, and Tréluyer).

Audi's Le Mans winning LMP1 cars -  Audi Forum Ingolstadt
While you'd expect these cars to be clean and polished because they are one of Audi's pillars. They still have original Le Mans dirt on the chassis. If I am honest, I preferred that to a clean chassis because it gave you a sense that this car had been in the race and what it had been through. One of the 13 (!) cars even sported a crack near its wheel. If any of them would have been fixed by duct tape, I would bet you any money that it would still be there.

Furthermore, you can bet any kind of money that this proud display made my endurance loving heart sing and weep with joy. It did not really matter on which floor I was, I was always drawn to it ...

Wheel of an LMP1 Audi
2014 spec Audi R-18 -  Audi Forum Ingolstadt
No matter if you are a road tripper, car fanatic, and/or endurance race lover the Audi Forum is worth a visit when you are in the area. It is even worth an one hour detour, if you're not that much in the area.

The atmosphere is comforting and it feel nice to walk between the cars and learn bits of information while you do. Unlike most (privately) run car museums, this one does not feel cramped at all, and while the glass front does make it a bit tricky to take the best photos, it also feels open and welcoming.

After nearly two hours I returned to my car and was ready to depart the City of Audi. A nickname fitting Ingolstadt because seemingly everyone drives one and I felt a tiny bit conspicuous with a little Seat Ibiza.

The next stop was pretty clear, from one Home of Endurance Racing to the next: From Ingolstadt to Stuttgart and the Porsche Museum!

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