The AVUS, part 2
This triggered a public debate about the suitability of the AVUS for racing, and it was not just called into question as a venue for the Grand Prix. Indeed, only smaller races subsequently took place. One reason for this was that after the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 the track increasingly gained in importance as a transit route from West Berlin to West Germany. Growth in transport saw the focus shift clearly to urban planning concerns and the AVUS as a place for racing headed towards its end.
The legendary steep north curve had to be removed in 1967 to make way for the new motorway junction near the Funkturm [radio tower] and was replaced by a shallower curve. Furthermore, the stretch of road was regularly shortened so that in 1992, it only had a length of 2.64 kilometres. Judicial disputes with local residents also led to a restriction of the annual number of races. Nevertheless, races still continued for a long time even if for smaller vehicle categories.
The AVUS also appeared in films. Likely the most curious appearance comes from the 1985 film “Richy Guitar”, featuring a then very young and unknown band who are now very famous. “Die Ärzte” played themselves in the main roles. They gave a concert at the AVUS from a lorry, with the police in hot pursuit.
In 1998 the era of the AVUS as a race track finally came to an end for good. However, it continues to be a living piece of Berlin’s history as a motorway and, in its new function as a venue location, the refurbished grandstand remains a visible reminder of the yesteryear of racing.