Audi's Quattro was the first car to use a turbocharged engine in conjunction with four wheel drive. When it was first raced in the early 1980s, it took the rallying world by storm. The Audi Quattro excelled in international rallying, winning the Manufacturers' Championship for Audi in 1982 and 1984 and the Driver's Championship in 1983 and 1984.
The Audi Quattro was based on the outwardly similar Coupe's bodyshell but had a different floorplan to accommodate its four-wheel drive transmission and independent rear suspension. The engine was a development of the five-cylinder, 2.1-liter, single-overhead camshaft unit first seen in the 200 saloon. With the help of a KKK turbocharger, horsepower was rated at 200 BHP in road trim and considerably more in competition tune.
Group B racing regulations permitted an evolution of an existing car as long an additional 20 examples were produced. Audi's racing special was called the Sport Quattro S1. It had a radical design featuring a large scoop on the nose and a large rear wing. Its body was comprised of Kevlar panels. The turbocharged five-cylinder engine produced over 500 horsepower. It was given an anti-lag system which fed fuel into the turbocharger even when the throttle was closed to help keep it spinning. Balance and weight was optimized by moving the battery, radiators and other components to the rear of the car.
At the car's inaugural racing debut, reigning champion Blomqvist drove the S1 to a second place finish, behind the Peugeot 205 T16, which had already won six rallies. The nimbler Peugeot had better handling but the Audi had better traction and power, which helped Röhrl score a victory in the S1 at the San Remo Rally.
For the 1986 season opener at the Rallye Monte Carlo, the Audi of Mikkola placed third behind a Lancia and Peugeot. Audi would abandon their Group B WRC program early in the season after spectator deaths in Portugal, along with other safety concerns. Three spectators had been killed and another 30 were injured after a Ford RS200 plunged into the crowd. Audi announced their decision to withdraw from competition shortly after this tragedy.
In the United States, Michelle Mouton had raced at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb driving in 1984 an Audi Sport Quattro. Her main opponent Martin Schanche got a flat right tire, allowing Mouton to win the open rally category in a record time and placed second overall. A year later, she made a successful return to Pikes Peak, winning the event overall in a Sport Quattro. She broke Al Unser, Jr's 1982 record by around thirteen seconds. Bobby Unser extended Audi's winning streak at Pikes Peak in 1986 with a Sport Quattro E2.
For 1987, Audi gave Walter Röhrl a modified Sport Quattro S1 to contest the Pikes Peak hillclimb. It had a new spaceframe construction allowing it to be lighter and had much improved weight distribution. It retained the short wheelbase but its suspension was redesigned to a double wishbone configuration. Aerodynamics were address with a unique front spoiler and a rear 'double stack' spoiler. The five cylinder turbocharged engine was tuned to produce around 1000 horsepower. Sending the power to the wheels was a dual clutch 'PDK' 6-speed transmission.
Röhrl drove the Quattro E2 Pikes Peak to victory in 10:47.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2017