1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1
Above Images ©Audi AG
The Sport quattro, a 331 kW (450 bhp) front-engined car, made its debut at the end of 1984. The wheelbase was shortened dramatically by 32 cm in an attempt to make the car even lighter and more agile.
The Sport quattro, as it happened, was fated not to enjoy any great successes, even in its final evolution stage, the S1. Its technical features nonetheless earned a place in rallying history if only because of their extreme character. The officially quoted power output of the five-cylinder aluminium-block engine was 350 kW (476 bhp), but with the recirculating air system that kept the turbocharger turning over at a high speed, the true figure was probably in excess of 500 bhp at 8,000 rpm. With a moderately high final drive ratio, the S 1 (which weighed only 1,090 kilograms) could accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.1 seconds.
Some of the cars were equipped with a power-shift gearbox – a forerunner of today’s DSG technology. The car had a lattice-tube structure clad with sheet steel and plastic panels. For the sake of better weight distribution, the radiator, fan and alternator were banished to the rear of the car. Vast wings and spoilers had the task of increasing down force on fast sections of the route; the brakes had a water spray cooling system.
In the spring of 1986 came the end for the Group B cars with their boundary-pushing technology. Audi decided not to enter for any further events in the series. Following serious accidents, the international organizing body FISA resolved to change the rules and permit only near-series Group A cars to take part.
As it happened, the S1 was able to celebrate one final triumph: in 1987 Walter Röhrl took this car with its 441 kW (600 bhp) engine up the Pikes Peak run in Colorado, USA, with its 156 bends and maximum altitude of 4,301 metres.
This victory was already achieved by the S1 in the previous years by Michèle Mouton in 1985 and Bobby Unser in 1986, giving Audi a hat-trick in this imposing American hillclimb event, the “Race to the Clouds”. The best Audi time of 10 minutes 47.85 seconds remained unequaled for many years afterwards.
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