Here are some of today's cars as Group B monsters.
The 2016 edition of the World Rally Championship is upon us with the best teams taking on some of the most grueling driving events the world 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 popularity and major manufacturers have taken notice, giving the series 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 with CarWow, with artist Yasid Oozear offering a glimpse of what a modern Group B could look like. They also threw in some Dakar-inspired vehicles just for good measure. 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 959 may 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 stages but a factory-backed return is definitely something to dream about. Okay, we know that the 1971 "Red Pig" 300SEL was never a rally car and that it placed second at the 24 Hours of Spa. The Mercedes-Benz Rally lineage belongs to the SLC 500 and the W201 190E (before that idea was shelved.) As much as we'd love to see the glorious sounding M156/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 kept under wraps. Liveried in the Walter Rohrl UR-Quattro scheme, our brains can surely fantasize about such a reality.
A Mustang rally car? Stranger things have happened to Mustangs, and the sports car is no stranger when it comes to playing in the dirt. What intrigues us, however, is the homage to the mid-engined RS200. The lightweight, four-wheel-drive RS200 is perhaps the antithesis of the lumbering rear-wheel drive V8 stallion. An idea that trickled into our noggins was maybe a four-wheel drive EcoBoost Mustang barreling down tight lanes and sliding through the apex. Ford already has a competitive rally program but maybe the Mustang can work its way in. A David and Goliath battle between the Fiesta and Mustang could surely draw crowds.
Donning our parkas and idly standing by we can only 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 spectacle that helped the segment leave its mark. Should fate permit such a gift it will probably end up being won by a man named Sebastien.