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How Audi brought revolution to the WRC

When you think of the Audi Quattro, you probably think of the Venus Red 1980’s hatchback icon.  However, The Audi Quattro is also probably the most important car in the history of rallying.

Pioneering the 4WD system, Audi took it to the rallying circuit for the first time in 1980 with its Audi Quattro, and later with models like the Audi A1 Quattro. The result was not just a series of wins over a 7-year period, but a domino effect of gravel-ripping, fire-breathing monsters, rule changes and eventually the ban of the newly introduced Group B altogether.

From the years 1982-1987, eyes were fully opened as we witnessed what cars could truly be capable of. However, none of this innovation would have occurred had the Audi Quattro never parked itself in the huge gap of opportunity Group B created.

Where it all began 

The catalyst for Audi’s innovation started with the introduction of Group B in the WRC. For the first time, 4WD was allowed in the WRC in the Group B class. Although not a requirement, Audi took advantage of the rules with the Quattro - the first time a 4WD car had been entered in the WRC.

1982-1984 - a string of successes for the Audi Quattro 

It didn’t take long for Audi’s innovation to show. In 1982, the Audi Quattro won the manufacturer’s classification at the WRC. Coming with a turbo-charged 5-cylinder engine that produced 300hp and merged with Audi’s 4WD system, it was the foundation recipe for future Audi cars that brought Audi even more success.

1983 - The Audi A1 Quattro

When Audi introduced the Audi A1 Quattro into the Monte-Carlo rallying circuit in 1983, it came third, missing out on first and second place to Lancia. But this was just an exception. When the WRC season rolled around in the same year, the Audi A1 Quattro started in 4 races, winning two of them.

Succession by the Audi A2 Quattro 

Even though the Audi A1 Quattro was winning races, Audi retired the Audi A1 Quattro in the same WRC season and replaced it with the A2. The Audi A2 Quattro won 3 more races in the championship, securing the WRC trophy for the Audi Quattro.

The 1984 WRC season brought more of the same for Audi. The A2 and Audi S1 Quattro won multiple races combined. This meant Audi won both the driver’s and manufacturer’s classifications in the 1984 WRC.

Inspiring the competition 

The visionary mindset of the Audi Quattro team was what ultimately gave Audi the success in the rally stages. Here’s a brief overview of the rally specs Audi gave its Quattros:

  • The Audi A1 Quattro had a turbocharged 370bhp 5-cylinder engine, combined with 4WD and a new bodyshell
  • The Audi A2 Quattro had a turbocharged 360bhp 5-cylinder engine, 4WD and could reach 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds and had a top speed of nearly 115mph 
  • The Audi S1 Quattro had 4WD,  a 2.1L 5-cylinder engine that produced 470bhp and could reach 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds 

Unfortunately for Audi however, their recipe for success garnered the attention of other teams. The result was an escalation in power and performance as increasingly powerful cars were released to out-compete each other and win the WRC Group B trophy:

  • Lancia Rally 037 - Supercharged 4-cylinder engine that produced 325hp
  • Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 - 4WD, turbocharged 1.4L engine that produced 350bhp 
  • Renault 5 Maxi Turbo - turbocharged 1.4L engine that produced 360bhp
  • Ford RS200 - 4WD, 4-cylinder 1.8L engine that produced 444hp 
  • Mitsubishi Starion - 4WD, turbocharged 2L engine that produced 350hp 
  • MG Metro 6R4 - 2.9L V6 engine that produced 410bhp 

With competition stiffer than ever, Audi still had success. By 1987, the Audi Quattro had bagged 24 wins from 58 rallies for Audi. Despite the team's success, and bringing revolution to the WRC, Audi never anticipated what came next. 

The downfall of Group B

Eventually it got to a stage where 4WD became the established standard for Group B, and cars with over 500bhp, like the Peugeot 205 T16 E2 (550bhp), were entering the WRC. Although the spectacle was exciting to watch, it came with a cost. The occurrence of car accidents increased and after a number of fatalities to both drivers and spectators, Group B’s regulations were deemed too dangerous and was banned altogether. 

Audi paint colours

The Audi Quattro rally cars that entered the WRC in the 1980s look to be in Audi’s Alpin White. However, the road-going Quattros came in other Audi paint colours too:

We stock dozens more Audi paint colours for Audi touch up paint, as well as other brands paint colours too. No matter what paintwork you need fixing or touching up, we likely have the paint colour for your car. 

How to order your Audi touch up paint

Audi car paint for the Quattro (or any other model of Audi) is available in all the colours listed above, plus many manufacturer discontinued paint colours or limited editions.
PaintNuts can mix all these colours for colour match touch up car paint, available as a high-precision pen, bottle and brush or car spray paint/aerosol. Just enter your car reg on our website and off you go.

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