Rendering

Would Modern Versions of Legendary Rally Cars Look Like This?

Here are some of today's cars as Group B monsters.

The 2016 edition of the World Rally Championship isupon us with the best teams taking on some of the most grueling driving events theworld has to offer. Spines will be compressed, dust will be thrown, and when it comes to spectators, please stay behind the safety line. WRC has steadily been growing in popularityand major manufacturers have taken notice, giving theseries new entries in the shape of micro-beast versions of everyday family cars.

Today's rally machines are lightning fast honey badgers, devouring each stage in rapid time. But let’s time capsule this and give the manufactures free rein just like the glory days of Group B. The geniuses over at Mad Artist Group partnered withCarWow, with artist Yasid Oozear offering a glimpse of what a modern Group Bcould look like. They also threw in some Dakar-inspired vehicles just for goodmeasure. Group B cannot exist without Lancia, winners of 11 world championships and creators of some of the most striking dirt-crazed supercars (looking at you Stratos and 037). No homage to Group B would be complete without the famed Italian marque.

Lancia of late however has faltered a bit; the Fiat Chrysler subsidiary gave us the Fulvia and in conceptual rally guise memories of the Delta come back to life. The Alitalia livery looks right at home, and we can only dream that one day that FCA will green light a return to rallying for Lancia. Is there anything the Porsche 911 can’t do? The 959may get most of the credit for being Porsche’s Paris-Dakar champion but the 953(a heavily modified 911 built for the 1984 Dakar), was the OG of Rothmans-Porsche dominance. The rendering shows a dust-spewing wide-hipped 991 sporting a bash bar that's very reminiscent of the Martini-liveried Safari 911 SC.

Converted GT3’s may still compete on rally stagesbut a factory-backed return is definitely something to dream about. Okay, we know that the 1971 “Red Pig” 300SELwas never a rally car and that it placed second at the 24 Hours of Spa. TheMercedes-Benz Rally lineage belongs to the SLC 500 and the W201 190E (beforethat idea was shelved.) As much as we’d love to see the glorious soundingM156/M159 6.2 in the behemoth S-Class, that engine has been phased out and, well,having a twin-turbo V12 in its stead is not so bad is it?

So there is absolutely no limit to how badly we want to hear the banshee howls and waste-gate flutter of a turbo five-cylinder Audi annihilating a rally stage. Based off the TT,this render greatly reminds us of the “secret” Group S prototype Audi keptunder wraps. Liveried in the Walter Rohrl UR-Quattro scheme, our brains can surelyfantasize about such a reality.

A Mustang rally car? Stranger things havehappened to Mustangs, and the sports car is no stranger when it comes to playing in the dirt. Whatintrigues us, however, is the homage to the mid-engined RS200. The lightweight, four-wheel-drive RS200 is perhaps the antithesis of the lumberingrear-wheel drive V8 stallion. An idea that trickled into our noggins was maybea four-wheel drive EcoBoost Mustang barreling down tight lanes and slidingthrough the apex. Ford already has a competitive rally program but maybe theMustang can work its way in. A David and Goliath battle between the Fiesta andMustang could surely draw crowds.

Donning our parkas and idly standing by we canonly dream of a resurrected Group B series, one that gives the manufacturers freedom and a dash of insanity to bring us back to the spine-tingling spectaclethat helped the segment leave its mark. Should fate permit such a gift it will probably end up beingwon by a man named Sebastien.

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