Group B Rally Cars

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Audi Quattro Group B Rally CarIn 1982, the FIA introduced a set of regulations for competition vehicles in racing and rallying, referred to as Group B. The Group B regulations fostered some of the quickest, most powerful and sophisticated rally cars ever built. They had few restrictions on technology and design and weight was kept as low as possible, high-tech materials were permitted and there were no restrictions on boost, which turned out to mean almost unlimited power. The category was aimed at car manufacturers, promising outright competition victories and subsequent publicity opportunities without the need for an existing production model. This gave car manufacturers what they wanted - to compete in rallying. After witnessing the success of the Stratos and the Quattro, they felt that having cars with mid-engine and rear wheel (RWD) or four wheel drive (FWD) was the way to go. They found that their RWD models had been gradually replaced by their FWD counterparts, lessening their chance of winning. By reducing the homologation minimum from 400 (in Group 4) to 200, manufacturers had a chance to compete. Group B was initially a very successful concept, with many manufacturers joining the premier World Rally Championship. But the cost of competing quickly rose and the performance and speed of the cars proved too much, resulting in a series of major accidents, some fatal. After the death of Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto in the 1986 Tour de Corse, the FIA disestablished the class, which was replaced by Group A. Group B was cancelled at the end of 1986. Although 1987 saw the end of the Group B cars on the world stage they did not disappear from motorsport. Peugeot adapted their T16 to run in the Dakar Rally. Improved Peugeot and Audi cars also competed in the Pikes Peak Hillclimb in Colorado. Walt Rohl's S1 Rally car won Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1987. and set a new record at the time. Audi used their Group B experience to develop a production based racing car for the Trans-Am and IMSA GTO series in 1988 and 1989 respectively. Ford sold off their RS200s to private buyers, with many being used in International Rallycross events from the beginning of 1987 until the end of 1992. The Metro 6R4 also became a frequent sight in Rallycross and the car was also entered in British and Irish national championship events.Tags:, ,