Gruppe B RS Turbo 16v (Group B Tribute)

rallycross prototype version (2017)

INTRODUCTION

Some of you already know me as the owner and author of this website and that obviously makes me one of the biggest Group B aficionado on the planet. However, what most of you didn’t know is that since 2007 I have also been working on building myself a Group B tribute car. Before you jump to conclusions just by looking at the car in the picture above, there are reasons why it isn’t an actual replica or a kit car of one, and I invite you to follow me through the story about how my love for Group B changed my life in JAY’S JOURNEY (separate page).

–Jay Auger
Rally Group B Shrine owner and author


QUICK BROWSE CONTENT


PROJECT DETAILS

I began this extraordinary adventure in 2007 as a near complete amateur. After much learning and deep study of Group B designs culminating in a decade of approximately 3,500 hours of work combined, I am proud to present to you the “Gruppe B RS Turbo 16V”! The project started life as a Mk2 Volkswagen Scirocco as the base bodywork donor and with a GD Subaru WRX STi as the mechanical donor. What is paramount to understand is that this project was not an exercise of trying to build a “Group B Scirocco” but rather use a Scirocco body to build my own personal vision of a Group B car. Albeit its anachronisms under the skin, the result is undeniably a unique Group B inspired rally car. Considering its aspirations the project itself is incredibly low budget and was mostly funded through parting out both cars of their unnecessary parts.

Why combine a Scirocco and a WRX STi? Like previously stated in the journey, most of the base car models used in Group B were never imported in North America, and the little that did are now nearly impossible to find (at a decent price anyway). The Scirocco provided an ideal yet cheap hatchback platform that already had lines similar to the Audi quattro and could be modified to tribute other models as well. I reckon that the only better car for this purpose might have been a 3-door VW Quantum (tail lights and rear screen ala Audi, etc), but I have never seen one around here.

As far as the controversial Subaru marriage, it is the most common yet relatively cheap and very effective longitudinal four wheel drive (AWD) powertrain available on this side of the pond. It was preferred over a modern quattro drivetrain (say from an A4) for obvious reasons not limited to the fact that I already had the Subaru gear laying about. Anyhow, running the Subaru STi engine is but temporary: it will be eventually replaced by an Audi 20V turbo 5 cylinder engine when time and funds allow. This particular engine / drivetrain combo has already been done by Andrew Hawkeswood of New Zealand in his S1 E2 replica to very good effect.

Why not a mid-engine build? The lack of general availability of a proper four wheel drive system for such a layout is the main reason. Too small a budget was second. My lack of expertise in such complex systems a third. Anyway, isn’t the front-engined Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 the poster-child of Group B? It arguably is, even tough the purists won’t agree!

Why not a kit car or replica? I had no budget to import a kit car or make the slightest attempt at a period-correct replica. Living in Canada instead of Europe made sure of that. Furthermore, a replica would always remain what it is: making tribute to only one model while fully knowing it is not real. On my end, I love every Group B car no matter their motorsport records, so I thought that I should try and tribute as much of the features that made them so memorable instead.

Lancia Delta S4 (rallycross)

Of course, I do have my favourites in the world of group B cars; which are the Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 (and its Pikes Peak derivative) and the Lancia Delta S4 (and its rallycross derivative). These are obviously better represented in my project but the full list is quite extensive. However, it is important to note that copying them to the last detail never was the intent, I rather much preferred creating my own version of these features while adapting them to the base car I had to work with.

DSC_0663

To achieve this, I first designed and fabricated a custom tubular spaceframe to which I welded on the Subaru floorpan plus firewall, and installed the mechanical components. I chose to overbuild the chassis with larger diameter and much heavier gauge tubing than most spaceframe Group B cars. Albeit this added some weight, it was mostly done for a maintenance-free chassis, plus some extra safety for my brittle bones! Ultimately, this step turned the car into a rolling “buggy” to which a body could then be fitted on. This “silhouette” procedure is similar to what some of the top tier Group B cars actually used and is of similar design to some commercial kit cars as well.

Afterwards came the countless hours of fabrication with the basic hand tools at my disposal. I also had some restoration work to perform on the Scirocco body since some areas were rotted out by rust. However, I left some of its most inherent flaws (like wavy and/or warped panels due to chassis fatigue) to retain its history intact and keep the car looking 30 years old.

All of the bodywork modifications were made in the very same spirit of Group B; function first, form second, if it ends up looking good then it is only a bonus! However, immense care and devotion was taken to incorporate and marry as much different Group B features as possible in a comprehensive and performing package.

This is all not for show as I’ve put incredible amounts of time in the “think tank” when designing this car; every component was strategically placed to achieve a perfect 50/50 weight distribution in a very short 89 inch wheelbase package, also marrying ease of service and adaptability to varying conditions and surfaces, hence creating a real rally car within the confines of what I had to work with. However, in the end I am only one person with one vision and a limited budget, but I think the result speaks for itself!

Maybe this next picture explains my challenge best:

Ford - Gruppe B

A complete description of the build would obviously take way too long to detail but for the most part these following pictures will be self-explanatory to the builders of custom racing cars:

The (current) powerful STi engine combined with the (current) 1090 kg weight, perfect 50/50 distribution, and (let’s be honest) more modern technology should make the car’s performance more than a match for most real Group B cars. It will remain a work in progress for quite some time as I hope to perform one major “evolution” each year as was permitted by the Group B rules.

If all goes well in the next few years, I will most likely be changing the colour of the car and create a livery to promote this website and the history of Group B (which is not widely known or appreciated in North America – I aim to change that). The long sloping hood may feature a mural to honour the fallen of Group B; drivers, co-drivers, project leaders, and everyone who played an important role in its history.

I therefore dedicate the “Gruppe B RS Turbo 16v” to the exploits and sacrifice of the courageous drivers and co-drivers, imaginative engineers, hardy mechanics, and everyone involved in making what Group B was. Shall they be remembered forever!

–Jay Auger


INSPIRATIONS

Here’s a list of the features that were implemented into the project and their direct inspiration I used from actual Group B cars;


RALLYCROSS (RX) PROTOTYPE (2017)

The very first build of the car was specifically aimed for maximum performance in a deep snow rallycross (time-attack) setting. Preliminary testing of the prototype on a dry open tarmac circuit wielded very exciting results to say the least! It drove phenomenally civil below 80 kph but became a beast as higher speeds were reached. Past 130 kph the aerodynamic support was clearly noticeable and made the car dig in very aggressively in the corners (even if equipped with winter tires) and that took much getting used to!

All was done in hopes to beat my own winter RX lap record at my usual snowy testing grounds. However, it turned out that the track owner decided at the last minute that he would no longer open the track in winter due to rising maintenance costs and poor clientele. This has unfortunately busted all of my plans for beating my record and get much needed benchmark data for future evolutions of the car.


STRADALE (road car) PROTOTYPE (2018)

The unforeseen annulment of the winter testing forced me to begin working on the road version of the car much sooner than expected. It is currently under way and should be ready to legally hit the streets by spring time. However, the car’s rally and racing aspirations will still continue intermittently in the year.


SPECIFICATIONS

***all specifications subject to change as project evolution continues***

Class/Budget (Canadian Dollars)
  • Group B tribute
  • Bodywork donor car: $1,500
  • Mechanical donor car: $5,500
  • Various parts, tools, etc: $5,800
  • Subtotal: $12,800
  • Part out sales: -$3,800
  • Total net cost (2017): $9,000
Project Years / Evolutions
  • Experimentation phases (2007~2015)
  • Final build (2016~2017)
  • Total hours: 3,500
  • Rallycross proto (2017)
  • Stradale proto (planned 2018)
Engine
Type
  • Subaru H-4, DOHC 16v, gas (to be replaced)
  • Audi I-5, DOHC 20v, gas (coming ~2020)
front longitudinal
Displacement
Compression Ratio 8.2:1 (current)
Power/Torque
  • TBA HP @ – rpm
  • TBA lb-ft @ – rpm
Materials block: aluminium cylinder head: aluminium
Aspiration & Injection
  • IHI Turbocharger
  • Air to Water Intercooler (AWIC)
  • EFI
boost: –
Ignition electronic  firing order 1 – 3 – 2 – 4
Lubrication System wet sump with 1 oil cooler
Cooling System water-cooled, rear mounted
Transmission
Type four wheel drive 6 speed manual gearbox
Gearbox Ratios
  • 1st: 3.636
  • 2nd: 2.375
  • 3rd: 1.761
  • 4th: 1.346
  • 5th: 0.971
  • 6th: 0.756
  • R:3.545
longitudinal, shortened driveshaft
Differential Ratios 3.90 dual limited slip with standalone driver controlled centre differential (35-65% to 50/50% lock front to rear ratios)
Clutch dry single plate / 600 lb-ft capacity
Chassis-body
Type fully custom spaceframe chassis, Subaru GD floorpan and firewall, integrated steel roll-cage, fully sealed cabin with rear bulkhead, Scirocco Mk2 body with custom wide arch panels, polycarbonate side and rear screens, custom rear clamshell with integrated roof scoop and cooling ducts, rear spoiler, front aluminium “snowplow” air dam with integrated spoiler, skidplate system.
Front Suspension independent, MacPherson 16-way adjustable struts, coil springs, optional adjustable sway bar.
Rear Suspension independent, dual lateral links, trailing arms, coil springs, 16-way adjustable struts, optional adjustable sway bar.
Steering System rack and pinion, hydraulic power assistance with cooler 12.0:1 (2 turns lock to lock)
Brakes Front:

  • Brembo 4 piston calipers with 326 mm slotted & vented rotors (tarmac)
  • FHI 4 piston calipers with 294 mm slotted & vented rotors (gravel/snow)

Rear:

  • Brembo 2 piston calipers with 316 mm slotted & vented rotors (tarmac)
  • FHI 2 piston calipers with 290 mm vented rotors (gravel/snow)
optional vacuum assistance, adjustable F/R ratio, vertical hydraulic handbrake
Dimensions
length:

  • Stradale: 155.9 inches / 3960 mm
  • Rallycross (F spoiler edge to R spoiler edge): 176.0 inches / 4470 mm
width: 72.0 inches / 1830 mm height: TBA inches / – mm
wheelbase: 89.0 inches / 2260 mm front track: 62.0 inches / 1575 mm rear track: 61.8 inches / 1570 mm
Rims – Tires Tarmac:

  • TBA

Gravel/Snow:

  • Speedline WRC spec gravel wheels
  • 15×7″ / ET+5
Tarmac:

  • TBA

Gravel/Snow:

  • 195/65R15 snow tires
  • TBA gravel tires
Dry/Unladen Weight
  • Rallycross: 1090 kg / 2,400 lb
  • Stradale: TBA
Bias: F/R 50%
Weight/Power – kg/HP (- lb/HP)
Fuel Tank 35 litres (rallycross)
Top Speed 260 kph (160 mph) est

CONTACT ME

Do you have questions about myself or the project? If so, please use the contact form below to contact me! (anonymous or hateful messages will be rejected)

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