Audi’s insane IMSA GTO car didn’t begin in IMSA at all. Rather, the lunatic German began its career in Trans-Am racing in 1988. Audi was just coming off a scandal involving unintended acceleration in their road cars and decided to go racing to demonstrate their ability to build a car that was terrifying for all the right reasons. The car they turned up with contained the engine and running gear from that legend of legends, the Group B Quattro. Around this they built a custom space frame and covered it all in carbon fibre. Wide carbon fibre. The only panel it shared with the road-going Audi 90 was its roof.
In Trans-Am trim, the 90 Quattro produced 510 bhp from its 2.1 litre turbocharged 5 cylinder engine. It won 8 of the 13 races it was entered in and helped Hurley Haywood to claim the driver’s championship that year. Trans-Am reacted by banning all wheel drive cars, and Audi became a factory-backed team racing in the more technologically adventurous IMSA GT Championship. Here, a bigger turbocharger allowed the car to produce a ludicrous 720 horsepower. With an engine sitting mostly ahead of the front axle and an exhaust exiting through the passenger door, Audi claimed victory in 7 of the 13 races they entered.
The works team would have surely won the constructors’ championship that year, but for missing the first two races of the season and retiring from the third. The 90 Quattro IMSA GTO would prove to be a brilliant flash in the pan, as the bigwigs in Germany decided to concentrate their motorsport efforts on the DTM championship at home and pulled support for the IMSA team. Despite only racing for two years, the car became a cult favourite. Driver Hans-Joachim Stuck recalled the Americans sneering at this German saloon car turning up to race with a tiny engine, and would frequently start to yodel as he crossed the line to take the chequered flag.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday October 19th 2016.
The Ferrari 288 GTO has some fantastically special cars in its family tree. It was the first Ferrari to bear the GTO name since the legendary 250 GTO, and its crazy cousin, the 288 GTO Evoluzione, served as the prototype for the equally legendary F40. AND it was designed to compete in Group B, the holy grail of motorsport lunacy. Crikey.
Unfortunately for the 288 GTO, Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto’s fatal crash in the 1986 Tour de Corse put an end to the 600 horsepower monsters. Group B was banned just as the GTO was about to step into the fray. Based on the 308 GTB to save money and construction time, the 288 was in reality a very different car. It was wider, lower, and packed with goodies like upgraded suspension, extra lights and a racing transmission mated to a 2.9 litre twin-turbo V8. It produced 400 horsepower, and was the first road-legal production car to hit 300 kph.
Not content with their amazing creation, Ferrari set to work once more. They wanted something nastier, scarier, more evolved. The 288 was lightened to a featherweight 2072 lbs, and the boost was turned up so that the engine now produced 650 horsepower. Incredible lightness, power, and an aerodynamically revised body put the Evoluzione’s top speed at a terrifying 225 mph. 272 288 GTOs were produced, but just 5 Evoluziones were ever built. Miraculously none of them were crashed as a result of monstrous turbo-lag and all of them survive to this day.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 28th 2016.
The Quattro’s debut in 1980 took the world of rallying by storm. Making use of recently changed rules which allowed all wheel drive in competition the cars were nigh-on unbeatable. Michėle Mouton became the first female driver to win a world rally in 1981 doing so behind the wheel of a Quattro, and also won the 1985 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in one.
The Quattro’s final incarnation, the S1, was produced to compete in the FIA’s infamous Group B. The rules allowed almost anything manufacturers could dream up in terms of technology and boost pressure. As a result the Quattro S1 E2 sported carbon-kevlar bodywork and its 2.1 litre engine was rated at 470 bhp. In reality it had well over 500 thanks to a turbo system that recirculated oxygen to keep the turbo spinning at high RPMs at all times. The system eliminated turbo-lag at any engine speed and provided fantastic power.
The golden age of rallying couldn’t last forever. Incredibly light and powerful cars combined with poor crowd control at rally events led to a series of accidents, and in 1986 the FIA was forced to bring an end to Group B. By this point the Quattros had somewhere in the region of 590 bhp. As a result, 0-60 mph took only 3.1 seconds.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Febuary 1st 2016