Golden Era of Rallying – 1980s Group B Goodness
Ask any fan of rally car racing and they will unequivocally tell you the Golden Era of Rallying was during the 1980s when the Group B monsters ruled the forests of Europe. With flame-throwing straight pipes, blow off valves popping and opposite lock four-wheel drifts commonplace, nothing, I mean nothing could top this madness in the history of motorsport.
Throw in ZERO crowd control on the courses and you had the most explosive setting imaginable. The videos on this page give you a perfect sense of the kind of drama and sheer talent on display during the Golden Era of Rallying.
There were several classes of competition in the World Rally Championship (The series sanctioning body). Group A had fairly strict limitations aimed at production vehicles. There was also limited weight and boost regulations among other factors.
Group B however, allowed the European manufacturers to go all in with unlimited turbo boost, heavy use of exotic materials and no weight restrictions. The end result was a series of lightweight, radically constructed all-wheel drive cars with over 500 horsepower. They went breathtakingly fast through narrow forest roads, snow drifts, and small towns resulting in jaw dropping action.
The premier manufacturers fielding Group B entries included Audi, Lancia, Peugeot and Porsche. These teams enjoyed unlimited factory support with an army of crew members ready to take over to thrash all night once the cars had finished their daily rounds.
You know what happens next. The class became more extreme each year with costs spiraling out of control, ultimately leading to the elimination of Group B at the end of the 1986 WRC season. Driver and spectator deaths had taken their toll.
But the Golden Era of Rallying is forever etched in our minds. Better yet is the video you can find online like this seven-minute Group B Tribute. Do your self a favor and crank the volume WAY UP.
We leave you with one last gem featuring the heel-toe heroics of Audi master driver Walter Röhrl dominating the competition in the Quattro S1 – a devastating 550hp, 5-cylinder monster. Driving the radical yellow and white Quattro S1, Röhrl was the best driver to ever strap on a helmet during the Golden Era of Rallying.