When someone mentions Group B, the minds of devotees immediately recall thoughts of monstrous racers with insane amounts of horses, wild body kits, and incredible danger. Danger. That’s the only reason Group B hasn’t been long for this world.
Donut Media devoted an entire episode to the history of Group B rally racing, tracing its rise and rapid fall in popularity. The group, created in 1984, became so popular because regulations were almost non-existent, unlike Group A. Cars had to have two seats, could not have a sunroof and a minimum weight calculated based on engine and vehicle. tire displacement. Everything else was a fair game.
Naturally, Group B became a hotbed for manufacturers to explore engineering and concoct the best setup to win races, which took place on snow, gravel and asphalt. Automakers were upping engines beyond 500 horsepower in the mid-1980s and installing advanced aerodynamics and suspensions in the name of victory. These racers spawned some of the most iconic vehicles to date, as homologation requirements meant 200 cars were needed for production. Think of the Lancia Delta, the Audi Sport Quattro S1 Ford RS200 and many more.
But, for all the amazing engineering and amazing cars, Group B was a treacherous league. It is this factor that would lead to its demise. In 1986, an accident in Portugal made many people think about the future of Group B. A driver tried to avoid a group of spectators, but in the process he slipped into the crowd. The crash left 31 injured and three dead, and the top teams immediately withdrew from the group.
Then, promising Group B stars Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto passed an unsupervised turn just four miles from the Tour de Corsa. The Lancia racing car rolled down a hill and exploded. Both men died in the wreckage. And like that, group B was finished. The FIA banned all Group B cars in 1987 and closed the chapter on an incredible, but dangerous, era in motorsport.