Group S: A bite from the forbidden fruit

Group B. Some herald it as the high point in rally. Stating the speed, danger, and car development as examples of its awesome power. The restrictions, while arguably are what made the sport great, lead to its downfall. A Lancia Delta, one in group B guise rather than the group S you see above, was thundering down a course… Rumors said that the engineers hollowed out the roll cage and filled them with NoS. When the car flew past the finish line and abruptly caught on fire, and I do mean the whole car was consumed in flames, those rumors were exemplified. The dangers were real. Though one tragedy couldn’t stop the sport, multiple others could. Drivers hitting crowds, spinning out and hurting, and in some cases, killing them. It was dangerous, but it was great…

 

With every great sport, there must be a successor

As was true with Group B. Gone would have been the days of ol’! No more 400-600 horsepower beasts. These cars would make upwards of one thousand horsepower in qualifying spec. It was going to be amazing. Unlike the tarmac based group B, this series had lots of support. Manufactures ranging from Audi (you can see the only remaining prototype above) to Lanca (they had two prototypes. One of them is the cover photo), even to companies like Toyota with their 22D (pictured below). It would have been amazing. The fierce competition between rival manufactures would have made for amazing races… Well… If it wasn’t for the Fall of Group B.

The Fall

Seeing as I already went over this, I’d assume that we can summarize! One corner. High speed! Crowds not behind barriers. Car hit the crowds (ironically it was a Ford so hey, the Mustang’s genes run in the family [sorry not sorry for that]). People got hurt, people died, and it someone was just like, “welp, this is over”.

The cars

Just imagine. Toyota, Mazda, Audi, Ford, Lancia, Peugeot, and maybe even Alfa Romeo! It would have been glorious! Manufactures duking it out with fast, light, and damn near deadly automobiles. Turbos, super chargers, all wheel drive, and so much more! It everything a car guy could want!

Regulations

(above there is a Mid engined Audi Quattro prototype. Pretty neatto)

Group B was, needless to say, very lax on it’s rules. Sure, there was a weight limit and there had to be at least 200 units made, and sold, but other than that, there weren’t many other rules. Group S, on the other hand, would have limited aerodynamic improvements under a simple logic: Less aero means less lower conering speeds and therefor safer. Power and weight, on the other hand, were not restricted. The rules even said that, with minor upgrades to select road cars, that companies could take group B racers and use them in group S (check out Ford’s prototype. It’s an upgraded rs200). Later on, Group S would have a 300 horse power limit, width, length, weight, and just be over all safer. It was set to begin in 1985 but, again, Group S was delayed. This time, the rules where revised yet again to make the cars safer with no flammable materials inside and safer crowd restrictions. 1986 rolled around and, bam, delayed again. This time, indefinitely. Rumors, of course, circulated that group S would return. It didn’t and it wouldn’t. It was over. Done. Kaput. Gone. Zilt. Zap. Zip.

 

Hope you all enjoyed this post. I worked hard on it!

 

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