53B RS-Turbo: Un Hommage au Groupe B et aux années 1980
Some of you might remember me as the guy who took the Subaru world by storm with my Short-Wheelbased GD WRX STi in 2012. However, most know me as the owner and main author of the Rally Group B Shrine website and that obviously makes me one of the best Group B aficionado and connoisseur on the planet. As such, most of my peers surely expect someone like me to own or having built a faithful replica of my favourite Group B car… but the problem is I love too many of them and am too short on the necessary wealth! Alongside the Shrine, I have dedicated a good portion of my life to fabricating a rally car heavily inspired by my passion for Group B and to the decade I enjoyed the most. As a true testament to Group B and the 1980’s, this project is controversial and leaves most people scratching their heads – will you?
Recce RallySport owner, driver and fabricator
Rally Group B Shrine owner, chief editor and author
QUICK BROWSE CONTENT
- PROJECT DETAILS
- INVERNO TIME ATTACK (I-T/A) PROTOTYPE (2017)
- STRADALE CORSE (S/C) PROTOTYPE (2018)
- INVERNO CORSE (I/C) PROTOTYPE (2019)
- CORSE RS (C/RS) PROTOTYPE (2019)
- CORSE RS EVOLUTION (C/RS-E): RALLY PREPS (2020)
- C/RS-E: A RETURN TO RALLYING (2020)
- CONTACT ME
The story of this project ironically begins in the mid-2000’s when I had nearly all forgotten my love for Group B and the 1980’s, my cherished cars long sold, including an 1984 Audi quattro – dumb me! In short, it all boiled down to not having enough confidence in myself to go through with my aspirations. This unfortunately made me purchase newer, more reliable cars, hence draining my bank account considerably.
A few life changing events, including a tidal wave of nostalgia – call it a midlife crisis – kicked my arse very hard, finally giving me the willpower to make my dreams happen. The nostalgic link to the 1980’s, be it music, movies or cars is something that gives me much solace. With these personal moments, for mere seconds at a time, I am able to recall feelings of my youth; a time when everything felt better, when life was simpler, of when I didn’t have to worry about tomorrow. Their effect on me is overwhelmingly addictive.
But over 20 years had passed and most of my beloved 1980’s cars were long rusted-out and crushed by the indomitable salty Canadian winters. I thus fiddled with a newer Subaru for a good while, gaining valuable experience in every field of car fabrication and mechanics. Later, a chance encounter with a somewhat decently-preserved and low-priced Mk2 Volkswagen Scirocco made a reboot of the entire project possible. Deep study of Group B and tubular rally car design soon ensued, now culminating in over a decade of approximately 3,000 hours of work combined. Originally code-named the “Gruppe B”, I am proud to present to you what came out of all this immense effort: the 53B RS-Turbo 16v (soon to be 20v)!
Calling it a simple tribute vehicle would be far too superficial since it is a proper old-school rally car with a lightweight tubular chassis, turbocharged engine and four-wheel drive drivetrain. The result is undeniably a 1980’s melting pot that includes elements of Group 5, Group B, movies such as Mad Max (for the prototypes), and more – albeit there exist an anachronism or two under its skin. Considering its aspirations the project itself is incredibly low budget and was mostly funded through parting out both donor cars of their unnecessary parts.
Why not a mid-engine build? The lack of general availability of a proper yet affordable four-wheel drive system for such a layout was the main reason. My lack of expertise to design such complex systems a second. Purists will now cry foul for the lack of a mid-engine layout. My best option at first was to fit a Subaru-based all-wheel drive system to the car albeit I know that most people won’t also understand why the car doesn’t feature a quattro or syncro drivetrain – the latter two simply being too rare to obtain and more difficult to service.
Anyway, the car will eventually feature an iconic Audi 20V turbo 5-cylinder engine, which is currently in my possession, when time and funds allows for the swap. This particular engine & drivetrain combo has already been done to very good effect. On a technical and aftermarket support point of view, it’s better than the original quattro system – but don’t shoot the messenger!
Why not a kit car or replica? 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. Doing this treatment to a somewhat unrelated car gave me liberties that would have been considered scandalous if made to a genuine Group B machine.
Of course, I do have my favourites in the world of Group B cars; which are the Audi Sport quattro 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 versions of these Group B features while adapting them to the base platform, with a slight hint of Group 5 mixed in, all the while designing it to be a real-world performer.
To achieve this, I first designed and fabricated a custom tubular space-frame to which I welded on the floorpan plus firewall, and installed the mechanical components. I chose to overbuild the chassis with larger diameter and heavier gauge tubing than most space-frame Group B cars. Albeit this added some weight, it was mostly done for a near maintenance-free chassis, plus some extra safety for my brittle bones! Ultimately, this step turned the car into a rolling “dune 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. Leaving the rust on sure would have made tribute to Mad Max even better but the car would need to pass tech so these spots were fixed. 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 (with crew) in a very short 89.0 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:
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 435 BHP flat-four engine combined with 1090 kg weight, perfect 50/50 distribution (with crew), and (let’s be honest) a few touches of modern technology should make the car’s performance more than a match for most genuine Group B cars. With an ultimate goal of 550 BHP (with the Audi 5 cylinder) paired with a metric tonne or less of weight, the project 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, and possibly implement more 1980’s touches as long as they do not detract from performance.
I therefore dedicate the “53B RS-Turbo” (53 / mkII Gruppe B RallySport Turbo) 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. I also much affectionately dedicate the car to every artist, actor/actress, musician, filmmaker, and everyone responsible for shaping the 1980’s into the best decade to ever have been. Shall they be remembered forever!
Here’s a list of the features that were implemented into the project and their direct inspiration I used from actual Group B cars and 1980’s popular culture;
- front air dam / Audi Sport quattro E2 (main) & Lancia Delta S4 (front headlights “overbite”)
- front spoiler (I-T/A version) /Audi Sport quattro Pikes Peak (main) & MG Metro 6R4 (spoiler angle)
- front fenders / Audi Sport quattro E2 (main) & Toyota MR2 “222D” (vents)
- quadruple round headlights (replacing factory square / rectangular units for ease of replacement) / Lancia Delta S4, Lancia Rallye 037, Ford RS1700T, various others
- front turn signals left factory / various
- rear quarter intakes / mix of Audi Sport quattro E2 & Lada Samara EVA
- side skirts / mix of Audi Sport quattro E2 & Lancia Delta S4 (“floating chassis”)
- rear clamshell / mix of Lancia Delta S4 (main) & Audi Sport quattro E2 (dual rear vents), Renault 5 Maxi Turbo & Porsche 959 (rear fender vents)
- tail lights / Lancia Delta S4
- rear spoiler (I-T/A version) / Lancia Delta S4 Rallycross (main) & Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 (rod supports) & Group 5 (narrowed to stock body width)
- roof spoiler (S/C, I/C, C/RS versions) / Lancia Delta S4 proto
- rear “bumperless” & mudflaps (I-T/A version) / Lancia Delta S4 & Lancia Rallye 037
- rear bumper add-on (I/C version) / Lancia Delta S4
- “symmetrical side window lines” / Audi quattro
- roof line & intake / Lancia Delta S4 (main) & Ford RS200 (side shape)
- side quarter window panels (integrated canard ducts) / mix of Lancia Delta S4 & Citroën BX 4TC (shape)
- CB radio antennae position / MG Metro 6R4 & Opel Ascona B 400
- intercooler (AWIC heat exchanger in my case) position / Ford RS200
- rear radiator setup / Lada Samara EVA
- rear transverse muffler and dual exhaust pipes / Lancia Delta S4
- chassis construction / Lancia Delta S4 & Ford RS200 (rear), Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 (cabin and front section)
- shorter wheelbase / Audi Sport quattro (procedure) & Porsche 959 (@ 89 inches)
- interior / Audi quattro (dashboard), Lancia Delta S4 (accessories)
- black derelict paint and rough edges (all prototypes) / Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
- black and gold rally livery / Grifone Esso ERC ’85~’87 (all Evolution versions)
INVERNO TIME ATTACK (S-T/A) PROTOTYPE (2017)
The very first build of the car was specifically aimed for maximum performance / minimal weight in a deep snow rallycross (time-attack) setting. Preliminary testing of the prototype on a dry open tarmac circuit in early November wielded very exciting results to say the least! It drove quite civil below 80 kph but became a true 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 soft winter tyres) 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 and snow-plowing costs in addition to poor clientele. This has unfortunately busted all of my plans for attempting to beat my record and get much needed benchmark data for future evolutions of the car.
This setup is expected to be eventually transformed for circuit time-attack / hill climb usage. However, there is nothing preventing it from going back to its intended purpose if a time-attack oriented venue on snow and ice can be once again secured in the future.
STRADALE CORSE (S/C) PROTOTYPE (2018-19) / Road and Rally
The unforeseen annulment of the winter testing forced me to begin working on the road / stage rally version of the car much sooner than expected. In early March of 2018 the car was finally ready to legally hit the streets. It was thus necessary to make the car more street-friendly by replacing and removing some of the more aggressive parts. It is however note to mention that everything was made modular to quickly allow the switching back and forth between versions of the car.
While the I-T/A version focused primarily on maximum performance and minimal weight for a snow time-attack setting, the S/C version was fitted with a passenger seat, as low down and back as possible for a co-driver ride along, jack and tools, partial rally equipment such as a fire extinguisher and camera mount, CB radio, and other amenities such as custom polycarbonate sun-visors and a secondary heater.
Notable exterior changes are the front spoiler delete (which will soon be made to be quickly bolted-on/off), revised front air dam (now in 2-piece), rear spoiler delete replaced by a new adjustable roof spoiler, and rear bumper. All necessary lighting was added such as backup lights, 3rd brake light, dual bulb marker / turn signals, and made fully functional via load resistors. The license plate position was chosen to mirror the vintage offset placement of event plates such as the Monte Carlo Rally.
Mechanically the car is identical minus the exhaust bypass plate and suspension settings. Chassis-wise it is also identical minus the addition of jacking point tabs. It drives phenomenally civil considering its raw nature albeit the high torque capacity clutch is at times difficult to finesse at traffic lights. The car begs for speed and is an obvious head-turner.
Further refinements were made to the car such as the replacement of the heavy rear tow-hooks in favour of twin tow-straps, the addition of lateral polymer splash guards, lowered and re-balanced suspension. A quick run-down at the track saw the new tires and suspension settings dial-out the torque-steer issues previously encountered under heavy acceleration in lower gears.
Late summer brought fortune with imported tarmac wheels from Europe, featuring a vintage aero design paired with the look of BBS cooling disc add-ons of the late 70s and 80s racing cars – giving the car a more aggressive stance and corner-hugging abilities. These wheels also add the possibility of using 275-wide tyres in the future. Re-installation of the adjustable sway bars yielded more confident handling amidst the suspension’s modest all-purpose camber settings.
Once more, further refinements were made to the car such as reworked suspension settings, better weatherization, unused frontal grille block-off plates, rear mudflap holders, a new hydraulic handbrake system, and the addition of fully-plumbed (ducts to spindles) air cooling for the brakes at all four corners.
INVERNO CORSE (I/C) (2019)
Winter of 2019 brought the opportunity for actual snow testing at the track, the latter being no longer prepped in the frigid season – meaning that the car had to forcibly plow through six to twelve inches of snow and, by doing so lap after lap, creating a more suitable surface to run on. The air dam, borrowing a similar design to the Audi Sport quattro S1 E2, was originally made out of aluminium for such a snow-plowing purpose – while of course aiding with downforce in other environments.
Amazingly enough, minus a rod of one of the rear mudflap holders that broke off and some minor cracking of the air dam joints, everything held up quite well to the 20+ laps heavy abuse – including, to much awe, the front lip under the front air dam.
Albeit the unprepared surface didn’t allow for a record-breaking run, the car proved to be ferocious on snow and ice by instantly pointing to the desired direction per a flick of the steering wheel and blip of the throttle. Best lap times would match my best run of 2015 made with “Wabi~Sabi“, a more aggressively aero’d and easier to drive Subaru WRX STi, that I ran on a much better overall and prepared surface – hence proving the worthiness and potential of the 53B RS-Turbo.
The addition of “ears” similar to those of the Delta S4, which on my car were set-up as vortex generators rather than air ducts, proved not to be very effective and as such were permanently removed from all prototype versions. Nonetheless, the apparent ruggedness and speed of the overall design used in this test session brings the project ever closer to its final shape when maintenance will be the only item left on the to-do list – even though that is years away!
CORSE RS (C/RS) PROTOTYPE (2019)
The advent of spring meant some more hard work had to be done to further improve and bring it ever closer to its final rally specifications. Chassis-wise the suspension was re-balanced with more aggressive tarmac-oriented camber settings, also hoping to help even out tyre wear. An aluminium skidplate system was created to improve undercarriage protection and overall aerodynamics with a subtle integrated rear diffuser. It was painted blue to tribute Peugeot’s own undercarriage theme in their 205 T16.
Bodywork saw some revisions as well. The front air dam was revised yet again, starting by rounding off the front corners to make the unit more street friendly but more importantly improving its tight corner-cutting abilities for rallies. Strakes were added to the front fenders and air dam to help streamlining and overall downforce generation of the design – most will recall seeing this on the legendary Audi Sport quattro E2.
There’s also the obvious presence of a set of four vintage Bosch Rallye spot lamps – as used on Audi quattros of the period and imported from Europe to some expense. While the bodywork is closing on its final testing phase and form, I decided to tribute my old “WaBi~SaBi” project with thin red line accents – may it not be forgotten as the stepping stone that made the current car possible.
On the mechanical side, some revisions were made such as to the cooling system; modifying the routing of the turbo’s feed line from the coolant manifold to the #4 cylinder instead. It’s similar to a mod now commercially available but to which I made my own to fit my custom needs. On my end this ensures that coolant going through the turbo then goes out to the rear radiator, instead of separating the flow from the manifold.
More importantly, an upgrade to a TD05-20G turbocharger was implemented, which boosted power to a respectable 435 BHP on 91-octane pump fuel. The tubing flow was also improved from the I/C core to the intake manifold by making it one-piece. The “kick in the pants” is very noticeable with the turbo upgrade as the engine now pulls strong all the way to the redline with little lag on initial spool-up. This has helped increase top speed on the test track from 180 to 205 kph (112 to 127 mph). Best 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) sprint was 3.2s attained with a very good launch. All of it elevating the car about on par with the 1985 Group B levels of straight line performance.
The car is now at a point where any drastic improvements will have to wait until the Audi 5-cylinder transplant due to time and budget constraints; engine rebuild / build, adaptor plate, new front subframe with accommodating clamshell bodywork, fuel cell(s), and updating certain safety equipment. It will be a huge package of mods which will most likely sideline the car for about a year, possibly more, making the decision not to rush it and postpone the project for a year or two a logical one. This is why I went with the modest turbo upgrade as to finally make the jump into rallying and enjoy the car in the interim with the current mechanical components.
CORSE RS EVOLUTION (C/RS-E) (2020): RALLY PREPS
This is a big one, albeit not the BIG one (aka the Audi turbo 5-cylinder transplant), but still a hefty update and huge step to the project – finalizing the car for a return to rallying after a near 20-year hiatus!
I’ve decided to postpone the engine swap for two years while I gather parts and funds, since I do not want to compromise that special part of the project. After all, when completed, the Audi engine will be the crowning jewel of it all!
What does that leave in the interim? Rally. Yup, I’ve finally decided to pull the trigger and make it happen. It began with joining my former rally club and updating myself in the latest CARS rules (Canadian Association of Rally Sport) – which I haven’t checked in a few years. Some items currently make the car not pass tech beyond the RX category, but most of these are minor setbacks that can be rather easily remedied in the future to get the green light for the Sprint category. Past this, blasé pencil-pushers and main series sponsors have too much say in the rulebook and currently outlaw the car for any regional or national championships. No matter, I figured that with my age and tight budget it would be reasonable to begin at the bottom and work my way back up again.
I therefore went in search of a co-driver (navigator) that would be interested in jumping into the fray with me. I first asked my childhood friend and fellow rally fan but he refused due to family and budget concerns. Then I asked a former co-worker, Mary-Loup, which is single, has disposable income and is generally quite enthusiastic about trying out fun things. The answer was yes, albeit there’s way more to tell about this later. So, in late January 2020 I went ahead with ending the prototype phase that the car has been in these past three years and summed up what needed be fixed or modified for legitimate rally usage. This left me about three months to make it happen before the first rally event of my season – a tough proposition at best!
For the first official “evolution” of the car, I began with finalising the rear section, which included fabricating a dust shield for the top of the fuel tank, new height adjustable strut mounts and better splash guards. I had planned to modify the rear suspension to feature typical Group B era dual struts but it wasn’t in the budget just yet. I therefore kept the current coil-over system that I already had but fabricated new and reinforced brackets for the top mounts, integrating a heavy-duty box-plate into the tubular triangulation of the existing chassis.
Each set of holes allows for height adjustments in one inch increments. There are five sets in total allowing for a 2 inch raise or drop from the “factory” or middle level. This makes adjusting height much faster than messing about with the coil-over rings. I’ve also slotted the lower struts mounts top holes to allow extra camber adjustability. Future related upgrades will feature a tubular rear subframe / diff support that will also feature the same range of adjustments – all to keep the suspension geometry intact.
I’ve then fabricated better rear splash guards by making the basic shape using wire mesh and fiberglassing it. While making the units heavier overall, use of wire mesh should make them almost infinitely repairable. I’ve also coated the underside with gravel guard (bedliner) to hopefully prolong service intervals. These guards should substantially help limit dirtiness in the rear clamshell – a recurring problem in these kinds of setups. I’ve also fabricated front splash guards out of thin aluminium sheeting to reduce or eliminate accumulation of dirt and debris in the front air dam. These are vented through the extractor at the back of the fenders.
The rear updates done, I proceeded to the disassembly of the interior cabin – which was very spartan and hastily made in Wabi-Sabi days. Having a modern instrument cluster and ragtag switch panel just didn’t cut it anymore, especially for the rallying ambitions. This would of course have been the perfect opportunity to redo the roll cage to modern spec but again, I had to choose on what I could invest on, so I chose to fabricate an entire new dashboard. I was inspired by the overall theme of the Audi quattro (simple steel panel) with 1980’s looking instruments from VDO, with a slight touch of Lancia Delta S4 mixed in – however adapted to my needs and preferences.
This took careful planning as to the layout and needs for relays, fuses, switches and other accessories, taking care of installing the bare panel inside the car first and marking the blind spot “arch” caused by the steering wheel. Therefore no gauge should be obstructed from view. I also made use of pre-wired fused switch panels to save a lot of time and hopefully make the mid-April deadline. Sourcing a 2” punch and flare die made adding rigidity to the panel and gauge instalment a cinch.
I took the opportunity to further strip the harness of its unnecessary (unused) wiring. I must tip my hat to very clear and understandable electrical schematics that made the whole endeavour much easier. In addition to the previous harness purge, this saved no less than 13 pounds in total. I later separated each wire per colour and gauge as to supply me with everything that I could ever need to cleanly make my new setup – also using the wire colours for each circuit as to retain the same schematics in effect. The whole thing was a labour of love netting in a dash wiring system requiring only 6 connectors to disconnect and 8 screws to pull the whole dashboard out of the car.
I’ve also taken the opportunity to address the poor heater performance of my previous setup. The revised one had to provide defrosting if this is to be a true all-weather car. Space is however very limited, making use of an factory heater unit impossible inside the cabin. I therefore went for an easier approach as to install an aftermarket heater (hot-rod kind) in a mid-mounted position to the rear of the cabin bulkhead. The main 3-speed fan system turned out to be adequate. If both old and new systems are put in operation together, a very decent amount of air does blow from all outlets, ensuring deforst / defog capabilities.
I took a break from the dashboard and cleaned up the inside of the doors as to create a net storage system since there’s basically is no real storage space available inside the cabin. The scissor jack remains nested behind the codriver seat. Other rally essentials nested in the doors feature a basic tool kit, recovery cable (tow strap), first aid kit, hazard triangles, zip-tie bundles, tape, and window-breakers / belt cutters.
Fire extinguishers of 5-BC capacity and type reside in front of each seat. Rules dictate that each must be held by two restraining devices and must also include “anti-torpedo” tabs. This task was easily completed by using two commercially available brackets and modifying them with a simple tab each. A regulation spill kit resides behind the driver seat.
Returning to the dashboard, I chose to install the RPM tach in the middle of my view and banished the speedo midway through the dashboard. In rally cars tach is obviously more important, speed only is in between stages and can also be better monitored by the codriver. Weirdly enough, VDO being a German / Swiss brand, I couldn’t find a suitable metric speedo in the entirety of the internet and had to settle for one in MPH primary with KPH secondary. These were rather simple to calibrate and make work.
I discretely integrated the DCCD controls near the steering column with the digital display on the opposite side of the column. It’s out of the way enough so to not disturb driving while I found in the past that monitoring it is almost useless unless doing a diagnosis on the system. The dashboard also includes a Terratrip 2 Retro, which has much less functions than newer rally computers, but did complete the 80’s look to perfection. Fuel level and voltmeter are also on the co-driver’s side, as will an EGT gauge in the future.
Other rally equipment consists of a Terraphone intercom system that I neatly installed between the seats and high up, making plugging in the helmets easier. I also fabricated a codriver footrest in aluminium checkerplate that I had left over from my trailer build, once more using my punch and flare tool. This footrest creates a more stable seating position for the codriver by bringing the knees up hence providing a natural “stand” for the pace notes book.
A late addition was the shifter extension with traditional ball knob. While it is customary for rally cars to feature a longer stick, as to make the transition between steering wheel, shifter and handbrake closer by, I chose this because I always found the short-shift kit that I had installed a really long time ago to feel vague while the throw was super short. This extension brings more leverage and more precision due to better overall feel. The throw yet remains fairly short for such a length. I really like it now!
Other than a revised crankcase and head ventilation system, the only thing left to do was choose an historical livery for the car. There weren’t much widespread black liveries in the Group B days, except Will Gollop’s Sikolene black/red/gold in rallycross, and the Grifone Esso black/gold most famously run by Italian Frabrizio Tabaton in the ERC; including the Lancia Rallye 037, Delta S4 and Delta HF. This livery was always one of my favourites and I didn’t want to change the base colour of the car so it was an easy choice. While I adapted the Grifone Esso livery to my own taste, I also kept available space for legit sponsorship, like on the doors and bonnet (hood).
Before painting, I reinforced and fixed all of the cracks in the clamshell and body panels that these past years of testing unearthed. After, I purposely added some defects to the bodywork at key points. Why? Group B rally cars were mostly handmade and rather rough even when brand new. Anyone who has seen a genuine one in person knows this. I somewhat simulated the same treatment to add some legitimacy that it is a real 80’s rally car but one that was also run and maintained by a privateer over the years. This was my choice, not that I would not have been able to do showroom quality bodywork – I did that on the “phase 2” version of my former Wabi~Sabi project – and it simply wasn’t warranted on this one!
I used various trickery with the clearcoat to get a not too shiny finish while simulating a bit more of wavy panels due to lots of flex through long-term abuse. Don’t get me wrong though, the car still looks totally amazing and fresh overall, but also dated at the same time: I like it a lot! Besides, real battle scars will come soon enough, and I would have cringed if it would have damaged weeks worth of perfect bodywork.
While I can say mission accomplished for this penultimate stage of the overall project, I must obviously say that the COVID-19 thing did mess up the plans for rallying for 2020. It did however give me time to finish the car properly without stress: overshooting the original deadline by three weeks.
Then I heard from our rally club that all events for 2020 have been cancelled since it would have been too difficult to reschedule for all parties involved. Instead they were looking at making a short event somewhere in September. Meanwhile, I couldn’t pass up the opportunities to show the car off to some “fans”!
THE DÉFI RALLY-X: A RETURN TO RALLYING (2020)
With a few training sessions with my novice codriver under our belt, I was somewhat confident that we would make a nice showing at my first rally event after 20 years of absence. Unfortunately, Mary-Loup was unable to take the pacenotes on the first stage recce, which was also very rough, and this put us at a clear disavantage since that stage would be run 4 times due to very heavy rain. The car’s suspension was also set up too stiff for such a rough and tumble stage which didn’t help matters. The second stage was however much smoother and we did have pacenotes but my codriver thought at one point that we veered off the route (even though we didn’t). We did manage 3rd best time though. Here’s the video from inside the car:
A timing error by Mary-Loup later cost us a 30 second penalty which, on such a short event, dropped us way down the standings. The car did perform well overall and I managed to get some of my rally wits back. In the end it was a fun event nonetheless and gave me hope that, despite COVID, there would be more rallies ahead.
This rally however signaled the end for my codriver, Mary-Loup, who admitted that this sport wasn’t for her since she had much trouble to quickly make calculations – not to mention falling asleep near the end of a navigation event a few months prior. I thus went in search of a new codriver… which turned out not to be as easy as it sounds!
Fortunately, after registering for another event a few weeks later, I stumbled by chance on the ideal candidate: Julie Papineau! She had been in charge of scrutineering at past rallies and was looking for a car (driver) to jump into the codriver seat. She immediately showed her skills and immense potential – the rest is now history!
C/RS-E: GETTING SOME PRACTICE IN BEFORE THE RALLIES (2021)
(details coming soon)
***all specifications subject to change as project evolution continues***
|Class/State||Group B / 1980’s tribute||Current state: Corse RS-E (rally) / Audi 5-cylinder turbo 20V rebuild|
|Project Years / Evolutions||Experimentation phases (2007~2015)|
Initial prototype build (2016~2017)
Prototype Evolution (2018~2019)
Rally Evolution (2020~now)
Total hours: 3,500 (2020)
|Inverno Time-Attack (I-T/A) Proto (2017)|
Stradale Corse (S/C) Proto (2018)
Inverno Corse (I/C) Proto (2019)
Corse RS (C/RS) Proto (2019)
Corse RS-E (2020)
|Type||H-4, EJ257, DOHC 16v, pump gas (to be replaced)|
I-5, AAN, DOHC 20v, gas (coming ~2022)
|Displacement||2457 cc (Subaru)|
2226 cc (Audi)
|Compression Ratio||8.2:1 (Subaru)|
|Power/Torque||435 HP @ 6900 rpm / 91 octane fuel (Subaru)|
TBA – 550 HP planned (Audi)
|361 lb-ft @ 5100 rpm / 91 octane fuel (Subaru)|
cast iron (Audi)
|Cylinder Head: aluminium|
|Aspiration & Injection||Subaru:TD05 Turbocharger|
mid-mounted Air to Water Intercooler heat exchanger / front-mid mounted core (AWIC)
|Audi: TBA Turbocharger mid-mounted Air to Water Intercooler heat exchanger / front-mid mounted core (AWIC) (planned)|
|Ignition||Subaru:electronicfiring order 1-3-2-4||Audi:TBA1-2-4-5-3|
front-mounted oil cooler
dry sump (planned)
rear-mounted oil cooler (planned)
|Cooling System||water-cooled, rear-mounted|
|Type||four-wheel drive (4WD/AWD)||6-speed manual gearbox|
custom machined aluminium adaptor plate (AAN)
|Gearbox Ratios||1st: 3.636|
|longitudinal, shortened and balanced 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|
|Type||fully custom spaceframe chassis, partial Subaru GD floorpan and firewall, integrated steel roll-cage, 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, “flat bottom” skidplate system.(I-T/A Proto): rear bumper delete, front aluminium “snowplow” air dam with integrated canards and optional spoiler, large overhang rear spoiler.(S/C Proto): polymer rear bumper, street-legal lighting, modified “snowplow” 2-piece front air dam with spoiler delete, large dual roof spoiler.(I/C Proto): same as S/C plus rear quarter side panels with integrated canards.|
|Front Suspension||independent, MacPherson 32-way adjustable struts, coil-over springs, optional and adjustable sway bar.|
|Rear Suspension||independent, dual lateral links, trailing arms, coil-over springs, 32-way adjustable struts, optional and adjustable sway bar.(dual struts planned in future evolution)|
|Steering System||rack and pinion, hydraulic power assistance with optional cooler||12.0:1 (2 turns lock to lock)|
Brembo 4 piston calipers with 326 mm slotted & vented rotors (tarmac)
FHI 4 piston calipers with 294 mm slotted & vented rotors (gravel/snow)
Brembo 2 piston calipers with 316 mm slotted & vented rotors (tarmac)
FHI 2 piston calipers with 290 mm vented rotors (gravel/snow)
|dual circuit with optional vacuum assistance|
adjustable F/R ratio
vertical hydraulic handbrake
fully plumbed air cooling (ducts to spindles) front and rear
S/C, I/C, C/RS: 155.0 inches / 3940 mmI-T/A (F spoiler edge to R spoiler edge): 176.0 inches / 4470 mm
72.0 inches / 1830 mm
without roof spoiler: 55.0 inches / 1400 mm
with roof spoiler: 58.25 inches / 1480 mm
89.0 inches / 2260 mm
|front track: |
62.0 inches / 1575 mm
|rear track: |
61.8 inches / 1570 mm
|Rims – Tires||Tarmac:|
Aero 14-JR 15×8
fifteen52 Integrale Gravel
235/60R15 BFG (street)
195/70R15 Pirelli K4
195/65R15 GT Arctic
|Dry/Unladen Weight||I-T/A: 1090 kg / 2,400 lb|
S/C: 1080 kg / 2,380 lb
I/C: 1085 kg / 2,390 lb
C/RS-E: 1000 kg / 2,200 lb
|Bias: F/R 50% (with crew) (all)|
|Weight/Power||2.3 kg/HP (5.1 lb/HP)|
|Fuel Tank||40 litres / custom high-capacity fuel cell (planned)|
|Top Speed||260 kph (160 mph) *est with current gearing|