The Shrine is not a commercial operation and is without cookie-based ads, hence it must rely on bespoke advertising and personal donations to help pay the yearly website hosting fees. 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.
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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, chief editor, author
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Greetings to all Group B rally fans! Some of you might have noticed that there were no website news posted between today and last year’s retrospective. This unfortunately meant that the Shrine’s small team of volunteers and I were very entangled in other commitments, such as career and family, to make any substantial additions to the website. Small changes made in the year however incorporate a new condensed main menu with related drop-down options for a cleaner and quicker look through the website’s vast content. It is with hope that 2020 will bring better fortunes to expand the encyclopedia.
It is however of note to mention that 2019 saw the publication of the amazing book Traction For Sale: The Story of Ferguson Formula Four-Wheel Drive, by Bill Munro – a friend and fellow author. Bill and I exchanged much information which led to uncovering more on the history of one of the company’s little known prototype contracts: the Opel Manta B 400 4×4. The car and information taken directly from the Shrine is featured in Part Three, Chapter 15 – Group B: a Revolution in Rallying. It is with much pride to having contributed to such an amazing book – thanks Bill, and all the best to your success!
I would also like to extend my best wishes to all Group B fans and anyone that is involved in keeping its vast history documented – may the legend of Group B continue to live on!
–Jay Auger Rally Group B Shrine owner, chief editor, main author
Yet again the main event of 2019 was to be focused on the unique one-off Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, chassis #091, that was heavily modified by Lotus in the mid-1980s for General Motors. A fascinating story that was fully brought to light by the arduous research of Jay Auger, the Shrine’s owner, with a string of back-and-forth interviews with the main Lotus engineers involved in the project. For the full history that was also published in the June 2018 of Motor Sport Magazine – CLICK HERE.
In April of 2019, a representative for the Hadjopulos Collection, whom purchased the Lotus systems car at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction in January 2018, contacted the Shrine to get more information on its provenance – ignoring most of the car’s Lotus background! The Shrine’s published story then quickly changed the Pug’s fate as a simple “quick flip” to a project of restoring all of its active systems to working glory.
The Shrine’s owner thus immediately went hard at work by contacting the former Lotus engineers involved in the project back in the 1980’s; all were keen to the idea of a restoration. However, untimely delays made for a difficult time-table to set things up between all of the parties. The subsequent loss of the initial excitement unfortunately made Mr. Hadjopulos backtrack and the restoration project abandoned. The unique Peugeot is once again being scheduled to be put up at auction in January 2020 on Bring-A-Trailer. We do invite everyone to watch this auction as it becomes online.
Rest assured that the Rally Group B Shrine will remain vigilant and will make certain that potential buyers get the correct facts and know of the open opportunity to get the car’s special systems restored by their former Lotus creators. It is, after all, the Shrine’s mission to correctly help preserve Group B’s history – this car being one of its best hidden treasures. Stay tuned!
Do not forget that the Shrine needs your support! If you enjoy the website then please consider making a monetary donation or support it through other means. To find out more about the 2020 Fundraiser – please CLICK HERE!
2019 FUN WEBSITE STATS
The year saw an increase in the Rally Group B Shrine’s online popularity by 9.3% – reaching the 750,000 “spectator” milestone near year’s end. 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 (260 views)
For the fourth 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 once more a small increase in page views. The gap however tightens with only 55 views separating Saby from least popular runner-up and compatriot, Jean Ragnotti.
MOST POPULAR DRIVER (2,424 views)
The first lady of rallying wins the crown for the fourth year in a row by a very large margin. Women all over the world should be proud of Michèle Mouton‘s exploits, the latter proving that gender knows no limitations. Group B’s legendary status remains strongly tied with the fastest woman in rally history.
LEAST POPULAR CAR (798 views)
There’s yet again no appreciation for the unassuming Polonez 2000 Rally from the former Eastern Block, losing out three 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 more vicious Group B car in the lines of the Stratopolonez. What a spectacle it could have been sliding around rally stages along the likes of the Talbot Horizon and similar bastardised mid-engine and rear-wheel drive prototypes that never made it to homologation.
MOST POPULAR CAR (8,293 views)
The immortal poster-child of Group B, the Audi Sport quattro S1 / E2, overpowered the competition to clinch the title for the second year in a row – far outgunning the ever fascinating and former popularity winners Audi and ToyotaGroup S prototypes. It must be mentioned that the Opel Manta B 400 takes the fourth spot, albeit it was a traditional and somewhat mundane Group B car, however remaining a mainstay of today’s historic rallies.
MOST POPULAR WALLPAPER (461 downloads)
Scoring a hat-trick, the Audi Sport quattro E2 remains king of the wallpapers – this exact image retaining the top spot albeit a loss of about a third in downloads. However, a stunning newcomer to the podium, the Lancia Rallye 037, takes the silver medal of all wallpapers!
COUNTRY WITH THE MOST VISITORS (45,472 views)
The United Kingdom retakes its crown from the Americans, this time by a substantial amount in page views. Great Britain has always been a stronghold of rally fandom – from the sport’s inception to today!
Once more it must be noted that the stats indicate analytic patterns that seem to be settling in for the long run, somewhat making these yearly recaps a bit less entertaining. Will 2020 confirm this without a doubt? Do come back in a year to find out!
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
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)
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)
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)
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.
Once more, the Audi Sport quattro 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 website’s article about the Stillborn Group B Circuit Racing (abridged / edited) is proudly featured in the May 2018 issue of Octane Magazine as part of their Lamborghini Countach Downdraft Versus Ferrari 288 GTO special – The Group B Showdown that Never happened. Be sure to grab your copy!
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.”
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 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.
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 short 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, Season 3 – Episode 3 “Loosing Control”, 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 going through the Shrine and its vast 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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!
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.
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.
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!
Special Thanks to:
Bill Munro (GFoS picture)
WELCOME TO THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GOLDEN ERA OF RALLYING