Few regulations are why the Killer B's were so amazing, but ultimately too powerful for their own good.
Group B. You know it and love it, or at least, in theory you do. Anyone with a modicum of interest in motorsports has probably heard of the storied racing segment from the 1980s, but for those that don’t really have the full picture, Donut Media is back with another video that covers the rise and fall of the iconic segment. Yes, it’s chock full of the witty phrases and over-the-top emphasis we’ve come to expect from the Donut Media guys, but it’s a perfect fit for the sheer outrageousness that was the Killer B's.
Honestly, the whole 11-minute video is worth it just for the opening sequence, which features the legendary Audi S1 no less than three times. We also glimpse a pair of Lancia’s in the eight-second intro – the mental Delta S4 and the amazing 037, which was the last rear-wheel drive car to compete in the series and the only one to claim a championship over Audi and its Quattro cars. That’s a little bonus trivia you won’t find in the video, but alas this a retrospective of the series, not the cars that made it so insane.
Actually, Group B was decidedly all about the cars, as it was basically an unregulated series with ridiculously low homologation requirements. There were no limits on power or driveline; weight was to be kept as low as possible, and only 200 production vehicles needed to be offered for manufacturers to be eligible to race. Furthermore, should updates be made to those race cars, manufacturers only needed to offer 20 new production variants – henceforth known as the “Evolution” models.
Most people know the story from there. Things started to heat up in 1984, but with cars pushing past 600 horsepower in 1985, even Group B drivers were starting to think the machines were just too dangerous. It didn’t help that virtually non-existent spectator regulations allowed fans to literally fill the course. Tragedy finally struck with a vicious crash that killed three spectators, then in 1986 Henri Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto were killed when their Lancia careened off the stage at Corsica, exploding into a fireball. That marked the end of the near-limitless Group B series.
Regulations for the WRC’s primary series were considerably loosened for 2017, drawing inspiration from the Killer B's by allowing more horsepower, more radical aero designs, and lower weight. Still, it still didn’t quite capture the same awe that made the 1980's Group B cars – and the people who attempted to tame them – proper legends in the motoring world.
Source: Donut Media