At the beginning of 1951, the GDR government commissioned a group of vehicle designers, initially under the direction of Ernst Ring , later under the direction of Arthur Rosenhammer , to set up a racing collective to construct a competitive racing car in order to prove the efficiency of the socialist industry in road racing. With the R1 racing car developed from the BMW model, a victory at the AVUS was achieved in 1952. After the end of the 1952 racing season the collective was relocated to Eisenach and the company was renamed Eisenacher Motorenwerk (EMW). EMW participated in the 1953 German Grand Prix with its 2-;iter Formula 2 racer. For the 1954 season new R3 sportscar was designed by EMW. It featured extremely lowline body and was powered by 1498 cc 6-cylinder in-line engine developing 138 hp. The team raced this streamlined car in the East German Sportscar and Formula 2 championships, as well as in few international sportscar events held in West Germany. During the winter break of 1954/55, four more vehicles were designed, with specific improvements to the chassis, steering, brakes and body being made based on the experience of the 1954 season. The new modification of R3 model is known as R3/55. EMW drivers Arthur Rosenhammer, Edgar Barth, Paul Thiel and Egon Binner dominated the domestic sportscar championship and were competitive at the Nurburgring where Barth was 6th in the Eifelrennen held in May 1955, and Thiel finished 4th in the 500 km race in August.
At the turn of the season in 1955/56, the EMW racing collective received its final name VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach (AWE), after the Eisenacher Motorenwerke had been operating as the Eisenach automobile factory since 1954. On April 29, 1956, Rosenhammer and Barth took part in their 1955 AWE racing cars at the Paris Grand Prix in the French capital, finishing third and fourth. In the ADAC 1000 km race on May 27, 1956 at the Nürburgring, for which 61 cars were registered and 57 competed, the AWE racing collective started with two vehicles. In order to increase reliability and survive the 44 laps, the team had reduced the engine power; but Paul Thiel / Egon Binner retired on lap 29 with engine failure. The team Edgar Barth / Arthur Rosenhammer with start number 26, however, finished seventh in the overall classification and, one lap behind, was third in the sports car class up to 1500 cm³ behind the Porsche 550 RS of Wolfgang von Trips / Umberto Maglioli and Richard von Frankenberg / Hans Herrmann. The AWE cars started for the last time on September 23, 1956 in Dessau in the final round of DDR sportrscar season. Barth won ahead of Rosenhammer and Thiel. After the 1956 season, the development of racing vehicles at the Eisenach automobile plant was stopped and the racing collective was dissolved in April 1957. The R3/55 car #26 is now a part of the exhibition of the Automobile Welt Eisenach museum.
|1956||WSC||1000 km Nurburgring|
|Edgar Barth / Arthur Rosenhammer||26||VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach|