L&K FC (1908)
The first L&K automobile rolled out of the Mladá Boleslav production hall in 1905. Again, Laurin and Klement took to racing to promote their new products. Driving force was Otto Hieronymus, a German born engineer and race driver hired by L&K as head of development. While L&K became one of the biggest manufactures of so-called „voiturettes“ (small cars), Hieronymus also had powerful racing cars in mind. His model FC had a four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 2.4 litres, good for a speed of up to 90 kph.
One of the first to race the car was Count Alexander ”Sascha” Kolowrat, a gentleman driver with Bohemian roots. Kolowrat, who was also known as “Count Kilowatt” for his energetic personality, had already won races on L&K motorcycles, when he turned to cars. Hieronymus and Kolowrat formed a successful team, winning amongst others the legendary hill-climb events at Semmering near Vienna (Austria) and Gaillon (Switzerland) at the wheel of a L&K FC.
Again driving an FC model, Kolowrat won the class of the Zbraslav-Jíloviště hill-climb in 1908. The following year he went up against 102 rivals in the German Prince-Heinrich Rally. While Hieronymus took a L&K FC to class victory at the 700 kilometres race from St. Petersburg to Moscow in 1908, Kolowrat was instrumental in the L&K team’s success in the challenging St. Petersburg-Sevastopol race and also won the Carpathian Trophy (1911). When Kolowrat, at that time a board member of L&K, stood at the start of the second edition of the Rallye Monte‑Carlo in 1912, it marked the brand’s first participation at today’s most famous rally.
ŠKODA POPULAR (1936)
In the 1930s, the company – now under the name of ŠKODA – made a return to motorsports. The ŠKODA POPULAR was the first ŠKODA car with a modern central tube frame and independent suspension. It also gave a powerful boost to the competitions department. Zdeněk Pohl and co-driver Jaroslav Hausman attracted much attention, when they entered the 1936 Rallye Monte‑Carlo with a ŠKODA POPULAR SPORT, a two-seater convertible version of the model.
The crew mastered the 3,852 kilometres route from Athens to Monaco in four days without collecting any penalty points. Even when Pohl and Hausman had a heater, thermos bottles and a heated windscreen as extras in their car, the winterly tour over mostly unpaved roads in Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and France was an exhausting adventure. Pohl/Hausman drove the ŠKODA POPULAR SPORT to second in class, spurring further enthusiasm for rally racing in its Czechoslovakian homeland. Encouraged by this success, ŠKODA also presented the particularly sporty ŠKODA POPULAR MONTE CARLO special series.
ŠKODA F3 (1965)
Single-seater race series serve as feeders to Formula 1 since its creation in 1950. Still today, Formula 3 presents one of the first steps up the ladder, already in the beginning of the 1960’s contesing in countless countries. Even behind the so-called Iron Curtain championships were organised.
When in 1964 the engine regulations changed to a one-litre capacity limit, ŠKODA developed its own F3 racer. The engine was the four-cylinder of the 1000 MB, mounted in the rear and delivering up to 90 hp. The slim body made from alloy kept the weight down at 410 kilograms. The open‑wheeler with the project number 992 reached a top speed of 210 kph. In 1968, Czech ŠKODA factory driver Miroslav Fousek won the Eastern European Formula 3 Championship. Another design was used for the Lucia F3 car, built inside the subsidiary plant in Vrchlabí in 1966. The car with the same power unit was used during the 1966-1969 seasons in the Czechoslovak national championship.