Václav Klement (standing
in the middle) later admitted
that he considered
the victory to be
Cars and passion go hand-in-hand.
From the first sketches, models and
prototypes to the final product, ŠKODA
AUTO manufactures cars that inspire
passion and enthusiasm in customers
around the world. These emotions
come to the fore on racetracks and
circuits; whether you are a spectator or
a racer, you belong to a family of enthusiasts. Vehicles built in Mladá Boleslav
have been generating enthusiasm for
motorsport for 120 years – since 1901
when the company made its successful
racing debut on a Laurin & Klement
motorcycle: The legendary Narcis
Podsedníček, factory head foreman, set
out on a 1,196 km endurance race from
Paris to Berlin. He reached the finish
late at night as the first driver in his
category. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find
any race directors. Therefore, he at least
asked a local police officer to confirm his
official time of arrival. The first victory
was not official, but rather moral and it
started a series of spectacular triumphs.
Only few people could have imagined
that race vehicles from Mladá Boleslav
would continue to appear on racetracks
for many years to come.
The brand’s 120-year motorsport history
has been written by remarkable people
who tamed wonderful machines whose
power and beauty continue to inspire.
Narcis Podsedníček always tried to stay
one step ahead of the game, and with
the same passion, the carmaker is still
active in the motorsport scene today.
This publication will briefly introduce you
to some of the racing highlights that will
forever be associated with the brand.
Head of the ŠKODA Motorsport Team
2 | 120 years on the racetrack
In late 1895, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement began repairing and building bicycles.
Only they knew what they wanted to achieve in
the provincial town of Mladá Boleslav. Well... did
they? Perhaps. Did they have enough confidence?
Certainly. They started with a 2 hp steam engine
whirring away in a rented workshop. Three years
later they built a factory; the very next year, they
launched their first motorcycle, and then their
first car (1905). L&K soon became the largest car
manufacturer in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Václav Laurin (1865–1930)
He came from Kamení u Trnova. He was
trained as a machine fitter, worked at several workshops and bicycle production factories and also spent some time in Dresden.
In 1894, he had a chance meeting with the
younger Václav Klement; Laurin oversaw production and
engineering at the company, and the Laurin-Klement
partnership lasted until they were separated by death.
Václav Klement (1868–1938)
Born in Velvary. He was trained as a bookseller and settled in Mladá Boleslav. In
today’s terms, he was a born manager.
Having identified the potential of motorcycles and cars, he turned the business
into a joint-stock company (1907). He later decided that
only by selling the company to the Škoda Group (1925)
would the car factory’s future be secured. Under his last
will and testament, his possessions were given to charity