Category Archives: Website News

News about the website, its features, or major events are found here.

– 2018 Shrine Retrospective

MESSAGE FROM THE WEBSITE OWNER

Greetings to all Group B rally fans! I am happy to announce that 2018 was, early on, very productive to the Shrine’s mission to help preserve Group B’s much loved history with the publication of two articles in well-respected automotive magazines. The Shrine also expanded its human resources with new team members to help with its mission. All work is on a voluntary basis, meaning that we are often entangled in other commitments, such as career and family, but you can expect the Shrine to continue soldiering on in 2019.

With the number of spectators reaching the 500,000 milestone at the last day of 2018, I would like to extend my best wishes to all and may the legend of Group B continue to live on!

Jay Auger
Rally Group B Shrine owner, chief editor, author


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2018 RETROSPECTIVE

The year started out rather mundane, with the focus on finalising media transfer from the old website, when two Peugeot 205 Turbo 16s, owned by General Motors no less, crossed the auction block at Barrett-Jackson. This simple curiosity quickly turned into a two-month long research project, revealing the entire story of these cars in the process, which turned out to be a very special project started by GM and contracted to Lotus to develop an array of active systems, with one of the Pugs serving as a mule for the 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Indy mid-engine concept car. While delays kept the Indy as a non-functional showpiece, the special systems would find their way into the 1990 C.E.R.V. III – tracing a direct lineage to an eventual mid-engine Corvette. The full story is of course available HERE for those who may have missed it.

The Shrine would like to send (again) its regards to the people who made this amazing story possible; Jonathan Grabowski (who uncovered part of the mystery in 2013), Patrick Peal, Steve Green and Peter Wright (the trio being directly involved with the project at Lotus back in the 1980’s), and lastly “G.H.” (the new owner of the benchmark 205 T16).

The GM Peugeot story attracted the attention of Gordon Cruickshank, chief editor at the legendary Motor Sport Magazine, whom offered the article to be published. After some delays, the little Peugeot mules got their fifteen minutes of fame in the June edition of the magazine. It is of course of great honour for myself personally and to the Shrine to having contributed to such a well-respected publication. Back issues are available HERE.

The Rally Group B Shrine also received a request by renowned Octane Magazine to take part in their Group B-special. It was an honour to share the story of how Group B missed the mark on its circuit racing aspirations. While the article published in the May issue was heavily abridged, you can find the complete article HERE. Our thanks to Glen Waddington for making this collaboration possible.

On a more personal note, it was a delight to have my very own Group B inspired car project featured in a fan publication, Skyrocket Magazine, thanks to Heath Scotchford and the Scirocco Register. Albeit quite humble and uncanny, the project has huge personal significance and has been literally life-changing. More can be learned about this very special tribute to the 1980’s HERE.

The Shrine is proud to welcome two new additions to its team: Dylan Smit and Sébastien Dussart. Dylan’s dedication to writing similar articles on a very popular automotive blog earned him a spot to use his talents here. Not long after, Dylan got however hung in other commitments which would see him rescind the invitation, but not before contributing the Ferrari 308 GT/M Prototype article. Sébastien, a Group B fan since childhood, was keen on making the Shrine’s work available to his french-speaking peers by translating select articles. Albeit a work in progress that is but in its infancy, you can find a french version of the website by clicking on France’s flag in the website’s menu bar. Merci Sébastien pour tes efforts!


2018 FUN WEBSITE STATS

The year saw yet again an increase in the Rally Group B Shrine’s online popularity, this time by about 25%, also reaching the 500,000 milestone on December 31st. Per the yearly tradition, here’s some stats on the least and most popular Group B-era driver and car based on visitor analytics!

LEAST POPULAR DRIVER (168 views)

Bruno Saby

For the third year in a row, Bruno Saby is the least popular driver of the Group B era, even though the 1986 Tour de Corse winner saw a 68% increase in page views. You can bet that, when completed, the french version of the website might change this…

MOST POPULAR DRIVER (1,988 views)

Michèle Mouton

The first lady of rallying scores a hat-trick by winning three years in a row, not to mention also doubling her auditoire over last year. Women all over the world should be proud of Michèle Mouton‘s exploits, the latter proving that gender knows no limitations. Group B was and remains strongly tied with the fastest woman in rally history.

LEAST POPULAR CAR (762 views)

FSO Polonez 2000 Rally

There’s yet again no apparent love for the boxy Polonez 2000 Rally, losing out two years in a row. In an alternate version of the universe, you might not have found the same result if FSO would have built a Group B car in the lines of the Stratopolonez.

MOST POPULAR CAR (5,899 views)

Audi Sport quattro S1 / E2

Last year’s winner, Toyota’s fearsome MR2 222D Group S prototype, was edged-out by the unarguable poster-child of Group B: the Audi Sport quattro S1 / E2. It was the closest finish of all the yearly tallies with the Audi Sport S1 / E2, Toyota MR2 222D, Audi Sport “Gruppe S”, and Audi Sport quattro Pikes Peak all within a margin of 400 page views.

MOST POPULAR WALLPAPER (641 downloads)

Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2

Once more, the Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 remains king of the wallpapers. In fact, the car yet again occupies the first three spots of all downloads. The day when Audi will be dethroned as the poster child of Group B is certainly not soon to pass.

COUNTRY WITH THE MOST VISITORS (41,480 views)

The USA once again edged out the UK, this time by about only 500 page views, thanks to a last minute boost by a well-known automotive social media platform.

A quick recap of the yearly stats seem to indicate that a pattern is emerging. Will it continue in 2019 or will the trends change? Come back in a year to find out!

– The Rally Group B Shrine Returns to Being Ad-Free

A MESSAGE FROM THE WEBSITE OWNER

Hallo Group B fans,

It is my joy to announce the return of the website to its former ad-free state. It was never the intent to run these nasty cookie-based ads but they had seemed necessary at a point in time when the site’s hosting fees rose dramatically. However, even though the Shrine’s other revenue sources such as donations have been very poor, I have decided to take the fees of the website on my limb once more.

Similarly to Wikipedia, it is very challenging for a knowledge website such as the Rally Group B Shrine to find good-hearted people willing to donate a tiny sum in return for their enjoyment of the site and the countless hours of hard work that was put in by everyone at the Team. As such, I once again urge fans of Group B and of this Shrine to donate.

Please use THIS LINK for donation options and please accept our sincerest thanks!

–Jay Auger
RGBS owner, chief editor and author

– ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival 2018: Celebrating the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival (July 19-21 2018)
Press release 03

ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival 2018 –
Celebrating the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

As is traditional, the ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival held in Daun/Germany from July 19-21 2018 runs each year with a different theme. In the past, the famous demonstration event has already celebrated the ‘Safari Rally’, ’30 Years of Group B’ and ‘Six Decades of Rallying’. For 2018, it has been decided to dedicate the event to the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US. At the ‘Race to the Clouds’, held in the Rocky Mountains, the competitors have to tackle 19.99 km and 156 corners before they reach the summit of Pikes Peak at an altitude of 4,301 m.

Back in the 1980s, the mountain road was entirely gravel and it played a very special role for rallying. “Pikes Peak became the new home for some of the Group B cars that were banned from the WRC”, recollects Reinhard Klein. He is the head of Slowly Sideways,the group of rally car collectors that makes up most of the one hundred and fifty cars entered in the Festival, and he has visited the ‘Race to the Clouds’ as a photographer. “At Pikes Peak, the Group B cars from Audi, Peugeot, Ford, Lancia and Austin Rover were run in their most extreme form and that is exactly how we will see them in the Eifel. Of course, for the Pikes Peak cars entered in the Festival, the same strict rules apply in terms of originality as for all other vehicles taking part in our event.” At the Eifel Rallye Festival, the hill-climb racers will make up a special ‘Pikes Peak Parade’ and will tackle two different stages. On Friday evening, they will drive the ‘proWIN Hilgerath’ stage. On Saturday, they will have a go at the second pass through the ‘Risselberg’ stage which itself is a former hill-climb track.

While entries for the ‘normal’ Eifel Rallye Festival only open today, many of the cars taking part in the Pikes Peak Parade are already confirmed. Audi Tradition will open its museum and bring two original works cars to Daun.These are the1985-winning Audi Sport Quattro and the 1987-winning Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 ‘Pikes Peak’. While Harald Demuth will take the wheel of the Sport Quattro, the 600 bhp supercar from 1987 will, according to what is known at present, be driven by the man himself, Walter Röhrl. A third winning Audi will join the fray. This will be entered by private collector Wolf-Dieter Ihle and it will also be piloted by its original driver, in this case, John Buffum, who won Pikes Peak twice.

Audi has a unique record at the Race to the Clouds winning the event six times in a row from 1982 to 1987 with three different types of cars: Audi Quattro A2, Audi Sport Quattro and Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 ‘Pikes Peak’. All these unique cars will be re-united at the 2018 Eifel Rallye Festival.

One of Audi’s main rivals in Colorado from those days will do its first kilometres since the 1986 Pikes Peak hill-climb. Wolf-Dieter Ihle has recently purchased the twin-engined VW Golf which entered the race in 1985 and 1986. This very special car will shake off the Colorado dust, some of which can still be found inside, and it will also be driven by its original driver, former European Rally Champion Jochi Kleint.

While these cars are still in their original specification, the three Peugeot 205 T16s that were used at Pikes Peak in 1987 have changed their shape radically over the years. Two of them were converted to 405 T16s, while the third one has been used in Rallycross. But now, after thirty years, this gap will be filled by Austrian Peugeot collector Erich Müller who is just completing a replica of the ‘missing’ 1987 Pikes Peak Peugeot 205 T16.

Another Group B car will make its way from the UK to Daun. Mark Rennison, who tackled the US hill-climb in a modified Ford RS200 right up until 2014, will bring this car to Daun. The whole project was initiated by John Wheeler, the ‘father’ of the RS200 and a regular participant himself in the Eifel Rallye Festival.

“We are really impressed by and proud of the Pikes Peak entries we have received so far. But we are still in talks with further teams and there is a good chance that we can welcome some more precious cars that competed there”, says Otmar Anschütz, Chief Organiser of the Eifel Rallye Festival and President of the MSC Daun.

Double World Champion Walter Röhrl, who was the first driver ever to reach the summit in less than eleven minutes, sees two reasons for his 1987 success at Pikes Peak. “The Audi engineers had understood quickly that with a four-wheel drive car, downforce, i.e. wings, are necessary even on gravel.” After seeing the times of the ‘winged’ Quattro in practice, Peugeot hastily added new wings to its 205 T16 but still they could not beat Audi and Röhrl that year. A fact, which was also down to Röhrl’s meticulous preparation. “Together with my wife Monika, I drove up the mountain eight times and made my own pace notes. Then I gave each of the 156 corners a specific name and learnt all of them by heart. In contrast to some of my rivals, I knew where I was all the time.” Röhrl is especially delighted that his 1987 winning car is still running today. “It is great to see that Audi takes this unique Audi out of its museum and shows it in action to the audience.”

More information on: www.eifel-rallye-festival.de

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EifelRallyeFestivalOfficial
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Use our hashtags:: #eifelrallyefestival, #eifelrallyefestivalofficial

– Fundraising Campaign Launched / The Shrine Needs Your Support!

2018 FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN – IMPORTANT!

The Shrine is NOT a commercial operation hence it must rely on advertising and personal donations to help pay the yearly website hosting fees and its operations. If you enjoy the website then I invite you to donate so that it can remain online, free to all. No amount will be too small. Your help will fund the Shrine’s interminable work; past, present, and future, plus giving the people who were behind Group B’s history a proper legacy.

Please support the Shrine via the PayPal donation system.

PayPal Donation


ALTERNATIVES TO THE FUNDING CAMPAIGN

While donations are preferred, here are various ways in which you can also help;

  • Purchase books from the Group B book storeThe Shrine earns a small commission on each sale from the BookDepository.com.
  • Purchase DVDs, Blu-Rays, or Downloads from the Group B Video Store. While no sale commissions are earned from DukeVideo.com, supporting them and other partners such as Pacenotes Rally Magazine and RS Motorsport will keep them advertising on the website!
  • Purchase articles from the Shrine to complement your publishing needs such as for automotive magazines. Please use this CONTACT FORM to inquire.
  • Browsing to the very bottom of every page will make more advertisements appear on your screen (you don’t even have to look at them or click them if you don’t want to). The Shrine earns a tiny amount of revenue for each ad displayed. This costs you only a second or two of your time!
  • Sharing the Shrine’s existence through social media or word of mouth will increase all of the above! As always, please do not steal any material from the website, and do support your local historical rally organisations!

I wish to thank every person that supported the Shrine since its beginning, whatever the means. You can expect the work to continue on with the same level of dedication!

Jay Auger
Rally Group B Shrine owner, editor, author


DONATIONS

Please use the appropriate links below to donate in the currency of your choosing:

PayPal Donation

Europe (€ / Euro)

United Kingdom (£ / GBP)

USA ($ / USD)

Note: You can change the number shown besides the currency in your browser’s address bar to donate an amount of your choosing instead. You can also change the 3-letter denomination to any currency of your choosing.

example: this will donate 23 Australian Dollars (AUD)

– The Story Behind the GM-owned Peugeot 205 T16s at Barrett-Jackson & Motostalgia Auctions

It was quite surprising to see that two Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Group B homologation road cars were put up at the January 2018 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. What was even more surprising is that these cars were owned and consigned by General Motors. The second car was subsequently relisted in the March 2018 Motostalgia Amelia Island Auction.

This of course warranted some further investigation by the Rally Group B Shrine! The story behind those cars is quite amazing and interesting. A very brief summary is that they were special research and development cars given to Lotus to aid in GM’s development of active systems (including suspension) in the mid-1980’s. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg: PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE SHRINE’S SPECIAL FEATURE!

– 2017 Shrine Retrospective

MESSAGE FROM THE WEBSITE OWNER

2017 turned out to be a very busy year for the Rally Group B Shrine! As always, the year was filled with a heavy personal time consuming investment in improving the website with intensive research, homologation papers, new articles, and the addition of new features, all the meanwhile making new acquaintances along the way.

One of these new features are “page jumps” (example below) that allow for quicker browsing of long articles. Look for them to be implemented throughout the entire website in the next months.

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2017 RETROSPECTIVE

Early in the year, an abridged version of the Shrine’s Ford Escort RS1700T article was proudly featured in the February 2017 issue of UK’s Pacenotes Rally Magazine. The collaboration continued on with advertisement. Thank you for trusting the Shrine’s work to promote your amazing motorsport publication! Also, thanks for sticking around to advertise! It is an honour.

Soon afterwards, the Shrine personally begun helping Briton author Bill Munro with research for his upcoming book about the Ferguson Formula 4WD system history (Traction For Sale). This cooperation has led to the massive improvement of the article about the very little known Opel Manta B 400 4WD prototype. You can expect some of the detective work to filter down to Mr. Munro’s book as well. Thanks, Bill, your professionalism has helped me bring up my game.

Contact with the famed Klein family of Germany has brought greater things since the Shrine now features lots of HD pictures from the Eifel Rallye Festival (which is now also freely promoted on the website). This relationship has helped bring more opportunities such as communication with some of Group B’s greats such as John Davenport, John Wheeler, and Ari Vatanen.

On top of that, the Shrine’s professional looking appearance has brought surprise requests from TV productions about acquiring visual media (pictures, videos) for special features that include Group B cars. One such request came in from a well known American car show: Jay Leno’s Garage. The particular episode featured a Group B snippet made of historical footage as to show the dangers of Group B and its cult status amongst fans. This was made possible by the Shrine’s contacts. You’re welcome, mr Jaglin!

On a sadder note, in June, I found out that some bloggers, one in particular from Singapore, had been plagiarising the Shrine’s work and getting high praise for our articles on a very popular car culture website. The stolen articles were deleted by the blog’s host but it still left a sour taste.

At the Shrine’s request, Audi Tradition came through with their promise to measure the exterior dimensions and release the full specifications of their amazing Gruppe S prototype. First released to the Shrine, these official specifications brought an end to much speculations about the car.

All the meanwhile, I somehow managed to find the time to also work on my secretive, decade long, Group B tribute car project and finally roll it out the garage door this last November. You can learn more about this unique project, affectionately dubbed the “RS-B Turbo 16v”, and about my journey to achieve it by CLICKING HERE.


2017 FUN WEBSITE STATS

Thanks to some well executed SEO work and word of mouth, the Shrine’s popularity has tripled compared to 2016! Here’s once again some fun website stats on the least and most popular driver and car based on visitor analytics!

LEAST POPULAR DRIVER (100 views)

Bruno Saby

For the second year in a row, Bruno Saby is the least popular driver of the Group B era. Quite unfairly in my humble opinion for the 1986 Tour de Corse winner! Albeit it was in that particular event that Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto lost their lives and forever changed rallying history.

MOST POPULAR DRIVER (919 views)

Michèle Mouton

Once more, the black volcano wins the title of Group B’s most popular driver. It is of no surprise that the first lady of rallying continues to draw the attention of rally fans everywhere. No other woman has come closer to winning the WRC driver’s title than Michèle Mouton in 1982 (a mere 12 points behind Walter Rörhl). Group B was definitely not just for men!

LEAST POPULAR CAR (646 views)

FSO Polonez 2000 Rally

No apparent love for the boxy Polish rally car. The Polonez 2000 Rally was after all but a Group 4 carryover that was merely updated to Group B regulations in 1984 with use of polycarbonate panels.

MOST POPULAR CAR (9,293 views)

Toyota MR2 “222D” – Group S Prototype

Last year’s winner, the Audi Gruppe S proto, was edged out by Toyota’s fearsome MR2 222D “black monster” prototype. This was most likely due to the greater exposure of the car on other car culture websites and social media. The fans would then flock to the Shrine to get the most complete information about the car. As always, the Group S prototypes never fail to stir up excitement of what they could have become!

MOST POPULAR WALLPAPER (163 downloads)

Audi Sport quattro S1 E2

Once more, the very same Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 image is the most downloaded wallpaper. In fact, the car occupies the first three spots of all downloads. This truly confirms the S1 E2 as the poster child of Group B.

COUNTRY WITH THE MOST VISITORS (29,815 views)

It was very close this time, with the USA edging out last year’s leader, the UK, by about a thousand views. It is comforting in a way that knowledge about Group B is spreading outside of its fan base in Europe.


Come again next year for more stats and anecdotes!

– Rally Group B Shrine Now on Facebook

MESSAGE FROM THE WEBSITE OWNER

After receiving a few requests asking me to promote the website on social media, I had a Facebook page (click) created for such a purpose. Truth be told, I am not a social media aficionado but if it can help make the Shrine’s mission better known then all the better. However, I may need your support to “spread the word”. I am certain that you (younger) fellows will know what to do better than I! Please note that no articles will ever be published directly on that Facebook page. For now, its monitoring will be delegated so please keep any contact request in this website. In the future, I might have more time to spend on that venture and may have the website news or other site functions linked over there.

– Audi quattro Group S Proto: Official Specs Released to the Shrine by Audi Tradition

The Shrine is proud to announce that, months after a request from this website’s owner (yours truly), Audi Tradition has graciously taken measurements and released the official specifications for their 1986 quattro Grüppe S Prototype.

Once again, the car is getting much attention after being displayed at the 2016 Eifel Rallye Festival and more recently at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Audi Sport quattro Gruppe S proto @ 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed

This release brings an end to major speculations about the car. Audi officially tells that two prototypes were made, which corroborates the previous statement of Roland Gumpert, albeit “IN-YV 71” seems to be the only one remaining. The 2.1L 20v turbocharged 5 cylinder is officially rated at 700 BHP (515 kW). Most amazingly, the top speed is estimated at 300 kmh (186 mph). All of which are befitting of the car’s Group C-esque appearance.

To review the car’s complete story and specifications: CLICK HERE!


–Jay Auger

Special Thanks to:

  • Bill Munro (GFoS picture)