This year marks the 30th anniversary of the abolition of Group B, back in 1986. Group B cars were very powerful, lightweight and introduced important technical innovations to competition, such as all-wheel drive and turbocharged engines that enhanced power to new limits.
The idea of the FIA with group B was to return to the concept of the Lancia Stratos, the first car designed exclusively for rally, and encourage brands to enter the World Rally Championship to create racing cars like the Renault 5 Turbo, which was dervied from a normal road car.
This regulation, which was very permissive, accompanied with turbo engine and lightweight materials took the step to the birth of a generation of cars as fascinating as dangerous, which just three years after its appearance were banned forever. Although currently the World Rally Cars get lower times than group B cars, for fans who lived that time, the rallies will never be like then.
But the forty-fifth season of the World Rally Championship, the 2017 season, will see substantial revisions to the technical regulations aimed at improving the performance of the cars and offering teams a greater degree of technical and design freedom. This led to the manufacturers to build very aggressive cars, which remember the glorious group b, but with present aesthetics. The new cars will have power figures between 380-400 hp with 1205 kilograms, compared with 550-600 hp for 1090 kg of Gr.B.
However, they will be much faster, as the center differential driven electronically (front and rear will remain locked and will remain mechanical, while the gearbox will remain sequential 6-speed), systems such as ALS or output (electric) make the torque of these new World Rally Cars to rise the impressive 500 Nm, 100Nm more than what they get today, and similar to those of the Audi S1 Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16 or Lancia Delta S4 levels. With the full aero package, the 2017 WRC cars will be the fastest cars in WRC history.
By the moment, this are the main teams that are scheduled to compete in the World Rally Championship during the 2017 season: