Ford RS200 Evolution – Group B & S Prototype

Published on: Jan 18, 2016 @ 23:27
Originally Published in: 2014 (old website)
(C) Jay Auger - website owner & author
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Ford RS200E Prototype

Before news of the cancellation of Group B was made public later in 1986, Ford had already begun working on the “evolution” (ET) model of their RS200 which was planned to debut at the 1987 Swedish rally. It is sometimes referred to as the “RS200 Evolution” or “RS200E”, but is in fact the second evolution version of the rally car. However, it must be noted that the rally cars used in the inaugural 1986 season were only slightly upgraded homologation versions and are often considered not to be true evolution cars.

The main upgrade of the planned 1987 RS200E consists in an improved version of the BDT Cosworth engine. Called the “BDT-E”, it was developed by Formula engine designer Brian Hart, and features a larger displacement of 2137 cc (from 1803 cc) to maximize the 2500~3000 cc engine class that the car was already in (2992 cc with the x1.4 forced induction factor). For WRC competition, the engine was planned to develop anywhere between 450~650 HP and with improved torque. More power was reported to be possible at higher boost levels but with greatly reduced reliability.

Other upgrades included a stronger suspension and better brakes. The only notable exterior features to help differentiate the RS200E from the “normal” RS200 are the presence of NACA ducts in front of the rear wheels and a larger/taller intercooler roof duct. A few lucky normal RS200 units were reported to have been converted to the new spec before the project was cancelled. The RS200E held the record twelve years running for the fastest accelerating (0-100 km/h) production car with a blistering 3.07 seconds.

While the RS200E would never have the opportunity to race in the WRC, one car was subsequently bought and entered into European Rallycross by Martin Schanche (with 650 HP) and raced until 1992.

Some national rally series allowed use of Group B cars post-ban thus some lucky contenders were able to update their car to the new spec.


Much later in 2004, another RS200E was built by Mach 2 Racing by using original spare parts, albeit much modified, with an engine tuned to produce 840 HP. The car was entered into that year’s Pikes Peak race and was driven to victory by rally legend Stig Blomqvist.

RS200S (Group S)

Ford RS200 Group S Prototype
Wheeler’s Ford RS200 Group S Prototype

In 1985, the FISA (former ruling committee of the FIA) announced a possible replacement class to Group B that was referred to as “Group S”. The new regulations would require only 10 cars for homologation and was essentially a “prototype” class for rallying. The class was originally scheduled to make its debut on January 1st 1988, then as a heavily revised replacement to Group B for 1987, but both were ultimately cancelled. To learn much more about the history of Group S, please CLICK HERE!

The Boreham team had also drafted the idea of a modified RS200 to compete in the Group S category. While other manufacturers were developing a brand new chassis for the class, Ford’s bid was actually an even more evolved version of the RS200E. No official prototype was known to have been completed but the draft of ideas remained; the Group S version would sport a double clutch “FGB” sequential gearbox that was in development by Hewland. Other notables were; lighter bodywork by using advanced composites, moving the intercooler from the top of the engine bay to the bottom (and using possibly an air/water intercooler instead) for a lower center of gravity, and the removal of the protruding intercooler roof ducting for better aerodynamics.

Ford RS200 GrB & GrS ERF
Left: Group B RS200 / Right: Group S RS200

Two decades after the demise of Group B and S, John Wheeler, one of the RS200 original designers, gave new life to the prototype idea by building one with original spare parts. It should be known that his Group S prototype was created by his ideas of what it should actually have been and not by Boreham’s original plans. Recently, Mr. Wheeler tested his working prototype at the annual Eifel Rallye Festival.

Ford RS200 Group S ERF 3

The major change from a normal RS200 is that his Group S prototype uses a YB (series of engines found in the homologation Ford Sierra RS Cosworth from 1986 to 1992) engine to power the car. These engines were known to be able to produce anywhere between 350 and 600 HP in race trim.  The unit in Wheeler’s car seems to be a YBB found in the earlier models. It also sports a rear mounted air/air intercooler instead of the usual top-mount. The unit effectively replaces the original location for the spare tire. The suspension also seems to be slightly different.

Exterior-wise, the car features a deleted intercooler roof pod, a revised front air dam, a new rear diffuser, and a new rear spoiler. All of it making the car’s lines resemble the original prototype of the RS200 more closely. Wheeler’s car noticeably went through a few minor changes from year to year meaning that the design is still being tested and improved even though Group S never was and never will be. John Wheeler’s vision can be considered the real thing nonetheless as it seems to utilize period-correct parts.

Ford RS200 Group S

Full specifications of Wheeler’s Group S prototype are known only to him.


  • E = Evolution
  • S = Group S (John Wheeler)
  • B/12 (E)
  • Group S (S)
  • 1986 (E)
  • unknown * 2010 estimated (S)
  • # Boreham conversions: 5 or 6 rumored (E)
  • # Mach 2 Racing built: 1 (E)
  • # John Wheeler built: 1 (S)
  • BDT-E, I-4, DOHC 16v, gas (E)
  • YBB, I-4, DOHC 16v, gas (S)
located mid longitudinal
  • 2137 cc (E)
  • 1993 cc * presumed (S)
  • WRC x 1.4 = 2992 cc (E)
  • WRC x 1.4 = 2790 cc (S)
Compression ratio N/A
Output power – torque
  • 450~650 HP @ – rpm (estimated) (E)
  • 350~500 HP @ – rpm (presumed) (S)
– lb-ft @ – rpm
Materials block: aluminium cylinder head: aluminium
  • Garrett TR-03 turbocharger (E)
  • air/air intercooler
  • Bosch motronic multipoint electronic fuel injection (E)
boost: N/A
Ignition electronic / firing order 1-3-4-2
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system dry sump with 3 oil pumps (E)
Type four wheel drive 5 speed transaxle gearbox mounted in the front with a second driveshaft to power the rear wheels (E)
Gearbox ratios (E)
  • 1st: 2.692
  • 2nd: 1.824
  • 3rd: 1.318
  • 4th: 1.043
  • 5th: 0.786
  • R: 3.083
  • 1st: 3.091
  • 2nd: 2.143
  • 3rd: 1.687
  • 4th: 1.368
  • 5th: 1.140
  • R: 3.083
Differential ratio (E) front/rear:

  • 4.375

Transfer box:

  • 0.864
  • 1.043
  • 1.158
  • 1.278
  • Ferguson viscous coupling center differential with 37/63 or 50/50 or 0/100 torque distribution (E)
  • Adjustable viscous coupling front and rear differentials
Clutch AP twin plate
Type E: Aluminum honeycomb lower chassis with carbon glass aramid composite upper structure and steel roll cage. Front & rear high strength alloy subframes. 2 door coupe plastic composite, carbon glass aramid epoxy composite bodyshell and bonnets, with plastic composite bumpers. Large intercooler ducting. Rear mounted spare tire.

S: Aluminum honeycomb lower chassis with carbon glass aramid composite upper structure and steel roll cage. Front & rear high strength alloy subframes. 2 door coupe composite bodyshell and bonnets, with plastic composite bumpers, and rear diffuser. Rear spoiler.

Front suspension double wishbones with twin coil springs and twin concentric dampers, blade-type adjustable anti-roll bar
Rear suspension double wishbones with twin coil springs and twin concentric dampers, blade-type adjustable anti-roll bar and toe control link (E)
Steering system rack and pinion with optional hydraulic power assistance 12:1 (E)
  • Front & Rear: Vented Discs AP Discs x 284 mm / x 11.2 in (E)
dual circuit (no servo), with mechanical fly-off and hydraulic center lever acting on separate, mechanically operated rear calipers (E)
Dimensions (E)
length: 4000 mm (157.5 in) width: 1785 mm (70.3 in) height: 1321 mm (52.0 in)
wheelbase: 2530 mm (99.6 in) front track: 1502 mm (59.1 in) rear track: 1497 mm (58.9 in)
Rims – tires
  • N/A (E)
  • OZ Wheels (S)
Curb Weight
  • Road Version: 1180 kg (2,600 lb) (E)
  • Rally Version: N/A (E)
  • Group S Version: N/A
 Bias: N/A
Weight/power N/A
Fuel tank N/A



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