The Audi Quattro, Lancia 037 and the Peugeot 205 T16 [tee sixteen] – some of the most iconic names in rallying come into Scott Mansell’s radar in this video on his Driver61 YouTube channel.
Cars that pushed the limits of what was possible in a way that we haven’t seen since. It was called Group B and is still held as the Golden Era of Rallying.
Group B was a class where manufacturers were allowed to go all out, with almost unlimited power, crazy aerodynamics and new exotic materials. It brought about new technologies like 4WD, Semi-Automatic Gearboxes and clever turbocharging systems.
However, it was only for the bravest of drivers. The hugely powerful cars needed a lot of manhandling to thread them through the tight-twisty stages, away from huge drops and dodging a sea of spectators.
Rallying went wild in the 80s. The FIA wanted to attract more manufacturers and so created a class that would give the designers pretty much free reign, no power limits, no regulations on boost, and whatever exotic materials you liked.
Rally cars over the years have been largely based on road cars, with rules tightening and loosening on how close the relationship has to be, between the stock car, and the ones that actually race the stage.
For example, in the Group A class – the manufacturers have to produce 5000 road-going versions of the car before it is allowed to compete.
In Group B, to lower costs and interest manufacturers, they ruled that only 200 needed to be produced. Group B also allowed almost endless modifications to be made – meaning the race cars were nothing like the road cars at all.
This approach really worked, attracting many manufacturers to Group B – names like Lancia, Porsche, Peugeot, Audi, Toyota, Ford – as well as so many more.