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Quattro Rally Car Groundbreaking

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Quattro Rally Car by Audi’s racing reputation was defined in the 1980s by their revolutionary Quattro all-wheel drive rally car. With its unique architecture packing a turbocharged inline 5-cylinder powering all four wheels, the Quattro became a dominant force in the World Rally Championship.

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Let’s explore the engineering and rally racing success that made the Quattro one of the most pivotal and iconic cars in rally history, benefitting Audi’s brand and performance models to this day.

Quattro Rally Car Beginnings and Engineering

Though Audi had raced at Le Mans, rallying was still new territory. But Audi wanted to prove their all-wheel drive expertise on dirt. What became the Quattro rally car started in 1978 as a concept prototype called the A1 project – a Coupe variant of the Audi 80 model with special off-road suspension.

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This led to the further development of the concept into what became the Quattro road car revealed in 1980. Featuring a turbocharged inline 5-cylinder motor and a permanent four-wheel drive system, the Quattro’s unique drivetrain arrangement placed the transmission ahead of the center differential with a rear differential sending power to the rear wheels. This allowed for greater traction and adjustable torque split that capitalized on all-wheel drive performance benefits.

WRC Dominance and Victories

The innovative Quattro immediately dominated the World Rally Championship between 1981-1984. In the hands of drivers like Hannu Mikkola and Michele Mouton, the Quattro won 23 events and captured the WRC driver’s championship in 1982 and 1984 along with the manufacturer’s title in 1982 and 1983. This proved all-wheel drive and turbocharging as the new standard for rally success.

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The Quattro became synonymous with rallying. Its success played a key role in Audi’s burgeoning reputation as an engineering leader producing road cars with technology integrated from motorsports. Quattro turbocharged models soon reached showrooms, enhancing Audi’s brand image worldwide.

The Original Quattro Rally Car’s Legacy

Through just a few seasons, the Quattro solidified all-wheel drive as essential for rallying victory. But it was much more than just new drivetrain engineering:

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Lightweight construction – Intensive use of carbon and glass fiber reinforced plastics reduced weight.
Aerodynamics – Wind tunnel honed bodywork produced needed downforce and stability at high speed.
Suspension – Carefully calibrated dampers and anti-roll bars optimized handling balance.
Turbocharger – New twin-turbo technology preserved response despite forced induction.
Every aspect showcased Audi’s expanding capabilities through racing innovation. In both motorsport lore and production models, the Quattro became legendary.

Later Quattro Rally Car Models

Audi continued competing with Quattro models even after the original car:

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Sport Quattro Short Wheelbase – Radical 1984 homologation special with carbon kevlar body and over 400 horsepower. Quick yet challenging.
Sport Quattro S1 E2 – Further upgraded with composite panels and over 450 hp. Last Audi competition car before Group B ended.
Quattro A2 and 200 Quattro – Group A entries maintained all-wheel drive advantages on gravel, snow, and tarmac through the late 80s.
While none matched the original’s impact, subsequent Quattros upheld Audi’s rally dominance and engineering prowess for years. They refined the all-wheel drive formula as a lasting performance legacy.

Significance of The Audi Brand

The revolutionary Quattro proved Audi could deliver world-beating engineering and performance – key tenets of their identity today. Technologies like turbocharging, lightweight materials, aerodynamics, and all-wheel drive integrated from motorsports gave Audi lasting distinction as an innovation leader.

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Beyond historic motorsport feats, the Audi Quattro rally car stands as one of the most forward-thinking and influential models forging the brand’s prestige worldwide. Its impact persists both competitively and for enthusiasts today.

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