One really doesn’t need to be a dedicated car fan to get enthusiastic about this bullet: the RAK 2, with which the entrepreneur, engineer and racing driver Fritz von Opel rode over the Berlin AVUS in May 1928 at record speed (concretely: 238 km/h). 3,000 guests cavorted on the grandstands along the AVUS. Among them were celebrities like the boxer Max Schmeling or director Fritz Lang. The event was broadcasted live on the radio, which at that time was still a young medium in Germany. At least as fascinating as this spectacular and successful record attempt is the story behind the development of RAK 2 – and that’s exactly why the rocket car must be featured in our VR!
The story begins in 1927 when Fritz von Opel decided to take part in Max Valier’s rocket research project. Valier, author and astronomer, is considered one of the pioneers of rocket technology (incidentally, he is also considered to be its first victim: he died in 1930 in experiments with engines). In order to realise their rocket engine as soon as possible, von Opel and Valier also brought Friedrich Wilhelm Sander on board. Only one year later, the RAK 1 was ready for take-off: with 12 solid-fuel rockets, the winged racer reached a top speed of 125 km/h and went from zero to 100 in eight seconds. The media response was enormous, and so the rocket pioneers decided to go one step further and designed the RAK 2: with 24 rockets that were electrically ignited and together developed a thrust of six tons. The fact that von Opel’s record drive took place in Berlin in May 1928 was rather “coincidence”: the test track at Opel’s headquarters in Rüsselsheim simply didn’t not have sufficiently long straights.