When most people think of the word “rally”, they think of a world-class professional driver piloting a powerful, 4-wheel drive rally car through narrow forest trails and over boulders at high speeds. While this is certainly an accurate picture of what rallying is all about, the sport also has a history that dates back to the early 20th century when cars were not yet fast enough to be competitive on the race track. Instead, these early automobiles were raced on public roads for bragging rights.
The sport grew in popularity over time and eventually developed into what we know today as rallying. This type of racing takes place primarily on public roads or closed-off tracks that are designed specifically for racing purposes. While there are several types of rallies that take place around the world, such as the Dakar Rally in Africa and Rallye de France in Europe, most rally races take place in Europe and Australia.
Due to their close proximity to one another, these two continents hold numerous rally races each year for drivers and navigators alike to compete in. Some of these races include the Monte Carlo Rally (Monaco), Safari Rally (Kenya), Acropolis Rally (Greece), and more! As you can see, rally racing is a huge part of the automotive world and, in some cases, it’s actually what started the sport of racing as we know it today.
In the 1980s, rally racing was all the rage, especially in Europe. This decade saw the birth of the Group B rally car, which was one of the most revolutionary racing cars ever built. It was also the car that started the evolution of modern rally cars, as we know them today. Group B rally cars were very powerful and were built to withstand tremendous amounts of punishment, which is why they were often referred to as “rally monsters”.
With their powerful engines and amazing agility, these rally monsters were able to drive up hills and over mountains at high speeds without a problem. While they weren’t necessarily built for comfort, they certainly delivered a unique driving experience that’s unlike anything else. For many racing enthusiasts, this was the golden age of rallying, which is why it has been so influential on the sport as a whole.
Group B Rally Cars
To get an idea of what the Group B rally car was all about, we first need to understand what Group B was all about in general. When it comes to racing, you’ll find that different categories exist for each type of car. For example, there are several different categories for Formula 1 racing: F1-V8 (supercharged), F1-V10 (supercharged), F1-V12 (supercharged), etc. This way, different types of engines can compete against one another and see who is the fastest.
While this works for most types of racing, it’s not the case for rally racing. This is because rally cars are designed to be lightweight and, therefore, have a hard time competing against other types of cars. For example, the engine in a Formula 1 car weighs around 30 pounds while the engine in a rally car weighs around 100 pounds. Because of this difference in weight, rally cars are much more agile and can easily outmaneuver their competition on narrow tracks.
This means that rally cars need to be able to go up hills and over obstacles without a problem. To make sure that they can do this without weighing too much, many different materials are used to make them as light as possible. For example, the frame of a Formula 1 car is made from steel while the frame of a rally car is made from fiberglass or aluminum (if it’s an older model). The same goes for the bodywork on these cars; since Formula 1 bodies are made from carbon fiber, they weigh about 50 pounds less than their counterparts in rallying!
Now that we know what Group B was all about in general, let’s take a look at some of its most notable vehicles. The following is a list of the most notable Group B rally cars:
Ford RS200 (1985)
The Ford RS200 was a Group B rally car that was built to compete in the World Rally Championship. While it didn’t win any WRC races, it did earn some great finishes at the Acropolis Rally in Greece and at the Tour de Corse in France. In fact, one of these cars was driven by none other than famous race car driver and four-time WRC champion Juha Kankkunen.
Opel Manta 400 (1983)
The Opel Manta 400 was a Group B rally car that was built to compete in the World Rally Championship. The Manta 400 was one of the first cars to be produced for the WRC, and it had a great start to its career by winning both the 1983 Tour de Corse and the 1984 Acropolis Rally. However, due to safety concerns, it would be removed from competition after 1985.
Peugeot 205 T16 (1984)
The Peugeot 205 T16 was a Group B rally car that was built to compete in the World Rally Championship. It was an incredibly successful car with many wins under its belt including two victories at the Tour de Corse, two victories at Acropolis Rally, and three victories at San Remo Rally. In fact, it won a total of 13 rallies overall during its lifetime. It is one of only two cars in history to win more than one event at both Tour de Corse and San Remo Rally. This particular car won all three events in 1985 alone! It is also notable for being one of the most efficient Group B rally cars as it could go 1,000 kilometers on a single tank of fuel.
Audi Sport Quattro S1 (1984)
The Audi Sport Quattro S1 was a Group B rally car that was built to compete in the World Rally Championship. This particular car won the WRC’s Tour de Corse in 1984 and 1985, along with three victories at the San Remo Rally. The Quattro S1 is one of only two cars to win at both Tour de Corse and San Remo Rally, which it did in 1985. It is also notable for being the first rally car to be fitted with a turbocharger and an all-wheel drive system.