Group B – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed

By Stevie Adams / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Group B, the scariest thing that happened in the woods since ghosts were invented It was too beautiful and dangerous to exist in this world. Just like Heath Ledger GROUP B. A world Rally Class whose four year
history would be cemented in the minds and myths of race fans for years. At its peak,
thousands lined the streets to bare witness the speed and fury of the cars and their engines
that exploded in a beautiful cacophony of flat fours, v-6s and inline 5s. With nearly no regulations placed on the cars, fearless thrived as they hurdled through actual streets of actual towns all over the world. On snow, mud and asphalt, the Group B drivers defied belief and cheated death. How did group B come about? How did it end?
Well grab your helmet and tighten up your harnesses baby, cause we’re going for a ride. This is everything
you need to know to get up to speed on Group B B racing. This episode of Up to Speed is brought to you by MVMT Watches.I wear mine everyday and I’ve already been married 9 times. Before Group B, the WRC was pretty cool- a
bunch of cars racing around doing the best they can to squeeze performance out of production
cars. A lot of well loved cars and game changing technology came out of WRC Group A. The legendary five cylinder Audi Quattro being just one of those. But Group A had a ton of restrictions on power,
size, technology and cost. AND the base model for a Group A auto had to be mass-produced
with at least 5000 units a year and had to have 4 seats. In contrast, Group B had few restrictions
on technology OR design and only required that weight was kept as low as possible. High-tech
materials were permitted, and there were no restrictions on boost. And for homologation
requirements, manufacturers only needed to produce 200 cars. I mean I made 200 cars last week.That’s nothing. PLUS, they left a special “evolution” clause
that meant year to year, if an update was made to a model, only 20 cars needed to reflect
the change, in Group A, you’d need to manufacture a fresh 5000. That’s also what they used to call me in highschool. Fresh 5000. Supp’ The only restrictions in Group B were:
the cabin had to fit two seats and could not be open roofed.
A minimum weight calculated by engine displacement Maximum tire width calculated by engine displacement. And… that’s it.
Those are all the rules. It took about a season for manufacturers to
realize the limitless performance potential of the group. In its first year, Audi did
little to change their Quattro from its Group 4 setup, but its still innovative drivetrain
was advanced enough carry Hannu Mikkola to the driver’s title in 1983. Lancia, however,
made more bold improvements to their rear-wheel drive 037 in shape, weight and power, and
the car was consistent enough to take the Manufacturer’s title. After its inaugural season, Group B’s low
homologation requirements attracted more manufacturers and more experimentation. Opel replaced their
production-derived Ascona with the Group B Manta 400, and Toyota built a new car based
on their Celica. Like the Lancia 037, both cars were rear wheel drive- they were powerful,
and could dominate on asphalt, but, they were still falling short when the terrain became less
stable. And this was the beauty of Group B Rally… the restrictions were so few, that
manufacturers were free to explore the best combination of power and drivetrain that would
work over a myriad of different surfaces. While Opel, Audi and Toyota were making tweaks
to their existing cars, other teams realized the low homologation requirements would allow
them to start with a clean slate. Peugeot engineer Jean Todt studied the restrictions,
looked to Audi’s success, and came up with a shorter four-wheel-drive car with more rear-biased
weight distribution. The Peugeot 205 T16 was homologated mid way through 1984. Featuring
a mid-mounted, 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, 350 hp, and four-wheel drive, it was immediately
competitive and became dominant from August onward. The evolution nudged 400 hp. It would
have won its first race, but driver Ari Vantenen crashed just before finishing. He was leading the pack by a lot. And speaking of crashes… these races and
cars were getting so gnarly that crashes began happening more and more frequently. Vantenen
led a ton of races for Peugeot, but seldom won them because he had a consistent record
of crashing just before winning. Sound like my love life. Part of the thrill of watching
the races was the excitement of knowing that drivers were toeing the line between triumph
and calamity. Michelle Mouton, who Niki Lauda described as “superwoman” was notorious
for her fearless driving, and she was no stranger to gnarly exits either. In her first
group B race, she slid through a patch of ice and crashed at over a 100 miles an hour. Drivers were going so fast through such tight
turns that their skills were being tested like never before- Bjorn Waldegard looks back
at the danger less romantically– he’s since said, “the cars were so quick your brain
could not react in time; it was just too much.” That sounds f***in’ nuts. Listen, these cars were using kevlar doors
to save on weight, they were using massively overpowered engines and employing cutting
edge suspensions out of necessity. Body-kits were radical amalgams of aero-innovations
and induction channels or cooling vents. Bigger engines meant wider wheelbase and tires, but
a heavier minimum weight. As small engine power output improved, you’d have the lightest
cars on the circuit pumping out over 400 horsepower. The technological achievements of Group B
were at once a recipe for glory and all out disaster. And guys, if you’re getting upset because
I keep using the word “gnarly…” After races, when they worked on the cars, Mechanics
would find things like severed fingers in the cars. Teams had therapists and psychologists on retainer
because just WORKING on Group B cars was that traumatic. Those who won or placed in stages were exalted. But just finishing a race alive was
enough tao cement your status as an elite rally driver. driver. By end of 1985, in addition to ravenous Group
B attendance, and accomplished, heroic drivers, there was an outright cornucopia of competing
cars, all testing theories about the right mix of balance, power, weight and wheels.
Lancia replaced their outclassed 037 with the Delta S4, which featured both a turbocharger
and a supercharger. Ford had returned after several years away with the Ford RS200, which
made a purported 550 HP at all four wheels. Citroën developed and entered the BX 4TC,
which was a cumbersome little beast. Rover created the distinctive Metro 6R4, which featured
almost comical, boxy bodywork and a large spoiler mounted on the FRONT of the car, and
Audi’s new Sport Quattro S1 boasted over 600 hp (450 kW) and had a frickin’ snowplough for the front end. We are now in uncharted territory, and the
stage is set to find out the world’s best rally car and the world’s best driver. And one young finnish driver- Henri Toivonen,
after years of unfulfilled potential, was emerging as a gifted vunderkind for whom Group
B seemed the perfect format. Where more mature drivers were all too aware of the dangers,
Henri, in his mid 20s- pushed as hard as he could. Rally legend Walter Röhrl said “Henri
was a little bit crazy. He was fast and always getting faster, like someone in a trance.”
I could never be faster. Henri reached the point where it was only a question of time
before something went badly wrong. And early in 1986, something did go badly
wrong. On the “Lagoa Azul” stage of the Portuguese Rally near Sintra, Portuguese national champion
Joaquim Santos crested a rise, turning to his right to avoid a small group of spectators.
This caused him to lose control of his RS200. The car veered to the right and slid off the
road into the spectators. Thirty-one people were injured and three were killed. All the
top teams immediately pulled out of the rally and Group B was placed in jeopardy. This crash came a year after Lancia driver
Attilio Bettega crashed and died in his 037. His co-driver Maurizio Perissinot was uninjured,
so the fatality was largely blamed on the unforgiving Corsican scenery and bad luck.
But, with such a massive injury toll and the death of 3 spectators, the Lagoa Azul accident
was making it apparent that Group B may be too dangerous to exist.
The promising driver Toivonen and his co-driver, Sergio Cresto sat at the start of the Tour
De Corse, waiting for the signal. When they launched in the turbo and supercharged lancia,
all four wheels gripped at the pavement to send them hurtling past hundreds of spectators
who lined the streets. But just seven kilometres into the stage, their S4 flew off the unguarded
edge of a tight left turn and plunged down a steep, wooded hillside. The fuel tanks ruptured,
and the car became a fireball on impact. When crews arrived nearly 30 minutes later, the
inferno had left nothing of the Lancia but a charred tangle of tubing.
Toivonen and Cresto’s death, combined with the Portugal tragedy, forced the FIA to act:
Group B cars were immediately banned in 1987. Group B was done. It was an amazing time in
automotive ingenuity and ultimately proved too dangerous to exist.
Could it happen today? With modern technology and safety? Honestly, probably not. There is a certain beauty in those things
that can scare us. The raw power and magnificence of a waterfall as you stand at the base; the exhilaration
atop a cliff as as you stare down to the hard earth stories below. This is the allure of Group
B. It was an intersection of Icarian aspiration and technology in racing that can never be
duplicated, and has become all the more mythic for its short existence. This episode of Up to Speed was brought to you by MVMT watches. MVMT was founded on the belief that style shouldn’t break the bank. Their goal is to change the way consumers think about fashion by offering high quality, minimalist products at revolutionary prices. With over one million watches sold, customers in over a 160 countries, MVMT has solidified itself as the world’s fastest growing watch company. It’s like the Volkswagen GTi of watches. Simple, cool looking and functional. Go to or just click the link in the description below. Use promo code DonutMedia (duh) and you will receive $15 off of any of their sweet watches or sunglasses. Did I mention free shipping and free returns? They’ve got boy stuff! They’ve got girl stuff. They’ve got stuff for dads. The watches start at $95 bucks.Their sunnies starts at $75 bucks. You can get them polarized, just like one of them giant white bears from the north pole. This is everything you need to know to get up to speed on Group B. This one was a little bit serious.Not a lot of jokes. It’s pretty much about people dying. How many times have you watch those group B videos on the internet which are just like ?????? Uh, send me a dollar for a Lamborghini. And as always: like, comment, subscribe and share.

94 thoughts on “Group B – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed

  1. I cant watch those Group B videos without f*king tears in my eyes, that was a proper competition of talent, engineering, courage.. the most brutal and beautiful time in automotive history. Just think, Audi could launch their 5 cylinder iron block powered monster from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds.. on a f*king GRAVEL.. in 1986?! Isn't that just completely insane? I would literally shit myself if I had a chance to drive one. And that brutal noise these engines made, it rips my soul out. If they just had more safety regards spectators, maybe the whole group would not get banned and God knows what achievements would come out of this.. That was a brilliant time.

  2. Rohrl was sent in a special with a Lancia S4 and then with a modern 911 GT2RS, the Porsche was 1 second quicker with road tires !!!
    Modern tech seems not as spectacular as it was back then, but the speeds and times are better now !!

  3. We live in a PC pussy world full of soya boys and feminazi.
    Look back: guys had balls and a woman did not ask for permission to drive a group B car and bitch slap the guys.
    The world was better in the 80s. Even greed was humble.

  4. Wrc 250 Hp no more
    Group b 450 ye let's add more
    Russian 990 Hp driving bear with ak 47 on the fsssive machetes on the side

  5. On average two riders die each year at the infamous TT on the Isle of Man, no one is yelling to shut that down. Too bad, Group B was a beautiful combination of talent and bravery.

  6. Should have had a skid plate under the fuel tank (they chose not to because it was an asphalt stage) and Lancia should have prevented Toivonen from racing after expressing he was not feeling well. Additionally, they should have increased spectator safety by assigning specific locations spectators may view the race from, and further prevent dangerous scenarios by cancelling stages if spectators got too out of control (running across the road/standing too close), which is what they do now. Earlier this year a WRC special stage was cancelled in Corsica because spectators continuously broke the rules. The banning of Group B held back the advancement of spectator safety for over a decade because the FIA had already blamed the cause of the two aforementioned disasters on the power of the vehicles.

    Not that it matters anymore…
    Great video 🙂


  7. Watching Group B on TV as a kid was amazing. The people were literally standing IN the path of the cars, jumping away just before getting struck. I imagine the driver's had a hard time knowing where the road were. Crazy crazy crazy but fun.

  8. This is true In the group B documentary they interviewed some of the drivers and some of the driver said they couldn’t think fast enough when driving the cars and other drivers said the cars where to fast for the drivers to think.

  9. Old motorsports
    Faster cars
    Less safety
    More entertaining
    But… More death ^
    New motorsport
    More safety
    less entertaining
    Still death if only there was a mix
    Without death

  10. group b was like bo Jackson. it's almost just legend now because it was around for such a short period of time.

  11. I get mandatory fuel economy but all these modern safety regulations should be optional. Like a line of old school replicas clearly made for dumbasses

  12. Henry Toivonen shouldn't have been driving that RS200 in Group B, he wasn't qualified enough. He had no experience in such a high powered car let alone driving it on such long technical stages.
    Some Ford technicians have come forward saying he shouldn't have been driving. Apparently Ford management needed a driver at short notice and he exepted the offer, sadly his lack of skill killed and injured many spectators.

  13. How can you tell a good rally driver from a bad driver?
    a good rally driver has dead flies sticking on the side windows

  14. Hang on … am I hearing this right ? Ford kept ignoring group B for 5 years, came late to the party and introduced rs200 and on it third race car killed 3 spectators and caused collapse of group B ? Well done ford, well done.

  15. This was a great video, but like…a bit too many stupid jokes in my opinion. They got toned down by the end, but you seemed really into this topic, but these jokes got everyone snapped out of it.

  16. Hey there I’m a super big car fan but I don’t know a lot about the verbiage when it comes to cars what does homologation mean as it’s being used in this video? Cheers and thank you for the answers ahead of time

  17. R.i.p herni but there was another finnish rally driver who was crazy too and he is markku alen

  18. I'm grateful for the ingenuity and spectacle it brought us but I'm happy it's gone. Making Motorsports dangerous doesn't make them cool. It also has left people dead (including fans who just wanted to see a fun race) and left others mentally scarred. I'm sorry but if you're romanticising that then you're a horrible person. You can marvel at the cars and their power and even perhaps the skill of the drivers…but let's not look at this horrific and shameful time in rally history with Rose colored glasses.

  19. Love the vids man. I watch em religiously 😆😆😆. Thanks guys!!!!! U deserve every bit of success..👍🏼👍🏼

  20. BS. Go to Ensenada for the Baja 1k. I've seen race crews hide the body of their driver in the semi and act like nothing was wrong. Crew Cheif spoke good Spanish and the Federales left without the corpse. That was at Patty's outside the La Jolla campground.

  21. If you want too see modern group b cars then play gran turismo sport because they have created there own group b class a called gr.b and you see modern cars made into group b cars

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