No automaker is more closely associated with five-cylinder engines than Audi, and there's a good reason for that. The German company introduced the first-ever gas-powered five-cylinder in a production car back in 1976 and stuck with this odd layout for 20 years. But more importantly, Audi took the five-cylinder racing with huge success.
You can learn all about the Audi five-cylinder's motor racing history in this new documentary produced by the company. It is, ostensibly, a commercial for Audi's new five-cylinder TT RS and RS3 sedan, but it features many great historical clips and interviews with three of the company's best drivers, Walter Rörhl, Hans-Joachim Stuck, and Hurley Haywood.
The Audi five-cylinder's first motorsport outing was in the World Rally Championship during the Group B era in the 1980s. With five-cylinder power and all-wheel drive, Audi changed rallying forever and won two constructor's championships in the process.
At the same time, Audi brought its Sport Quattro to Pikes Peak, where it won overall from 1984 to 1987. Rohrl was the first driver to go sub-11 minutes in Audi's final appearance at the hillclimb (pictured above).
Then, Audi turned its focus to US sports car racing, first in Trans Am, then in the IMSA series. Again, its cars dominated, with Rörhl, Stuck, and Haywood at the wheel.
Audi brought the five-cylinder back for the 2012 TT RS, and it has a new, 400-hp version for today's TT RS and RS3. Unfortunately, Audi isn't racing this engine yet. We'd love to see it prove its worth, just like its predecessor.