Why this imitation Group B Quattro rally car is better than the real thing
Just hear me out
The 80s and the 90s are often spoken about as the greatest era of Motorsport racing, and rightfully so. It was during this time that the world was treated to the Group C endurance racing class, and the artistry of Ayrton Senna - but perhaps the wildest division of them all was Group B rally racing.
The Ford RS200. Image credit: Team VVV.
Introduced in 1982, the Group B class refers to a set of regulations imposed in rally racing, and thanks to it, competitive manufacturers were effectively given the green light to let their imaginations run wild. The main reason for this was because there was no need for manufacturers to have a pre-existent production model of the car they chose to compete in the Group B class with.
The Lancia 037. Image credit: Carbuzz.
As you'd expect, some of the resultant cars were monstrous - loose surface racers had never been as fast, powerful or as sophisticated as they were in the Group B era, but it wasn't to last. Having no real set of regulations means there was very little in the way of safety, for both drivers and spectators alike. As a result, after four years of intense competition from some of the world's biggest off-road manufacturers, the curtains were drawn to a close on the divison at the tail end of 1986. The legend lives on, however.
The Ford RS200, the Lancia 037, the Renault 5 Maxi, the Peugeot 205 T16 and the MG Metro 6R4 are just a handful of some of the best cars created during that generation of insanity, but one car stood head and toes above all the others. That car was the 1986 Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 - the wildest car from the wildest bunch in rallying history.
Audi's legendary Quattro lineage first debuted in 1980, and as the decade wore on, the German brand continued to revamp and revitalise their initial project, and what ensued was total domination in the form of their Quattro S1 E2. The car was so competitive in fact, that Audi took it one step further by also giving it a chance at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - another event that the car not only won, but completely governed.
The E2 weighed in at just under 1090kg, which sounds like a lot, but when you consider the game-changing AWD technology it had (this car is actually the reason all-wheel drive became a staple in rallying), it's not bad at all. Other features included a 2.1-litre incline-five engine, which produced a dizzying 473 horsepower.
Whilst all that may be enough to cause quite a stir, it's not even the E2's party piece - that is the car's turbo re-circulation system, another innovation. The system meant that the turbo would continue to spin, eliminating any lag and offering sustained power every single time its driver put their foot down. As you can imagine, the 473 horsepower the car had felt more like 800 thanks to this revolutionary development.
But this blossoming progress is what became the car's, and more so the group's, eventual downfall - a fatal crash in 1986 was one of the deciding factors behind the end of the Group B series. Whilst we may not hear the E2 hunt down a rally stage like we once could, there are alternative means to experiencing the mythical racer in today's world, and this replica is perhaps the closest way to achieve that.
Seen here, in what looks to be a very normal neighbourhood driveway, is this achingly beautiful 1986 Audi Sport Quattro Coupe S1 E2 replica tribute car. You'd be forgiven for thinking this was the real thing, such is the detail and time that's gone into creating it. In terms of power, the seller's description states that the replica produces ''600ehp'' and ''550 enm'' - and if their claims are to be believed, you can bet that this replica will be just as joyous to drive as the real thing. The seller even says that the car was built specifically to tackle hill climbs, time attacks and sprints.
In fact, you may enjoy driving this even more than an actual E2, given that you know you're not actually sliding around in a priceless original. Speaking of price, this car is put up for sale for $180,000, or roughly £140,000 - meaning it lingers around the same bracket as the likes of the McLaren 570S, the Porsche GT3 RS, and the Lamborghini Huracan. I don't know about you, but if I was asked to take one home, I'd pick the Audi - and as has been the case on so many occasions with the Quattro S1 E2, it was never a close competition.