THE ULTIMATE TEST, THE ULTIMATE PROOF
Success on the world’s racing circuits is the ultimate proof of a manufacturer’s engineering capabilities. Encouraged by the positive response to the debut of the Hansa 1500 at the Geneva Motor Show in 1949, Carl F. W. Borgward decided there and then to use the new model as the basis for a racing car. In August 1950, the INKA set twelve international records in Montlhéry in France.
Its success served as an incentive and led to the design of a new chassis and a modified 1.5-litre engine for the 1953 motosport season.
The BORGWARD Hansa 1500 RS emerged from the 1,000-kilometre race at the Nürburgring as class winners, and finished third overall behind a 4.5-litre Ferrari and a Jaguar.
To demonstrate the Hansa 1800 diesel’s performance, the motorsport division installed the 42 hp unit in the sports body. The first-ever diesel coupé reached a maximum speed of 155 km/h (96 mph) and set two new world records for diesel-engined cars.
Legendary was the 1953 Carrera Panamericana, with 2 Hansa 1500 RS competing against the Porsche Spyders. It would have ended with a class victory –if the leading BORGWARD had not exceeded the three-hour time limit for the stage by a mere seven seconds. In the same year, BORGWARD entered two cars in the 24 Heures du Mans.
BORGWARD also recorded notable successes in touring car racing, including a particularly remarkable one in 1954, when a more or less standard-spec Isabella finished the Carrera Panamericana in sixth place in the European touring car class.
In 1956, the testing division in Bremen set about developing a 1.5-litre Isabella-based four-valve engine with fuel injection and dual ignition. The powerplant initially developed 150 hp and powered the BORGWARD RS to numerous class victories. In 1959 it was ideal for the newly established 1.5-litre Formula 2. Stirling Moss was driving a Cooper-BORGWARD and recorded four wins in the first four races. The famous race-driver is quoted as saying that Formula 2 meant little to him at the time – until he sat in the Cooper with the BORGWARD engine.
Return of a legend
Weighing in at just 650 kilogrammes and generating an output of 165 hp, the BORGWARD Hansa RS 1500 was the most feared opponent of the 135 hp Porsche 550 Spyder in the 1.5-litre class. The Hansa RS also had a 1.5-litre engine, which powered the aluminium racer to more than 155 mph – and this at the end of the 1950s. “The engine was brilliant,” says the owner Ralf Jüttner, “simply an outstanding performer.” This is the view of an expert – as managing director of Joest Racing, he is responsible for Audi’s Le Mans entries. Motor racing is in his blood: In 1949, his father Fritz was a member of BORGWARD’s racing division and a BORGWARD driver.
It was Fritz Jüttner who rescued the BORGWARD RS – without an engine – from the remnants of the racing division. Once a suitable power unit was found, a restoration project spanning several years started. From the 1970s onwards, Fritz Jüttner frequently took to the wheel of the RS again in vintage car races. He was joined by his son Ralf, who also helped out in the pits. When Fritz Jüttner passed away in 1985, Ralf inherited the sports car that was sitting in his father’s garage. When it’s not out on the racetrack, the BORGWARD Hansa RS 1500 nowadays can be admired in Hamburg’s Prototyp Car Museum.