Here’s why we love the Porsche 959 Group B rally car
The FIA has always introduced and abolished different categories in the different disciplines of racing, rallying, endurance and single-seaters. Most come and go relatively quickly, changing as do cars and the interests of the general public.
Very few categories are elevated in the area of icons; Group B, for example, was created in 1982 and banned in 1987. It was halted after a series of high-profile accidents that resulted in the deaths of spectators and drivers.
But this category created what is considered to be the golden age of rallying, in which major manufacturers attempted to produce the most powerful, manoeuvrable and thrilling cars in the history of the world. ‘automobile. The Audi Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16 and Renault 5 Turbo all achieved legendary status with the entries of MG and Lancia.
The category was to be replaced by the even faster S Group, but instead Group A regulations were introduced, ushering in the era of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru WRX STI. But before this change, there is a car that is often overlooked as a Group B competitor; the Porsche 959.
Porsche’s halo car was originally known as Group B when the underdevelopment and legal versions of the vehicle were one of the rarest in Porsche’s catalog, as they only needed to produce 200. to meet the homologation requirements set by the FIA.
By 1993, when the car went out of production, only 337 copies had been made and Porsche had one more legend under its belt.
The street car
With such low production numbers required of the 959 for it to be in Group B, the brand never bothered to test it to make it legal in the United States, which would have wasted four or potentially more. of the car.
With this fact in mind, the 959 became a gray market car with an unknown number imported to the United States before being concealed and only really seeing the light of day under the many exhibition and display rules. further away. The 959 is an icon of the 80s along with the Countach and Testarossa, but the German car is more subtle and much more refined while having a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds.
With the Turbo flat six engine of the 956 and 962 track cars, the foundations of the fast Porsche were proven even before reaching the rally scene. Using a different setup from most Porsches of the day, with an engine and all-wheel drive, this is certainly a break from previous 911 models, but it is the innovation that Group B was. supposed to encourage.
More interestingly, the 959 broke considerably compared to the design of the 911, but this was not uncommon for Porsche, which had produced the 924 and 944 at this point. However, it rendered the same styling of the cabin and headlights, but with a wide rear that generated a lot more ground force, rectifying the happy tail nature of the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive 911.
The 959 was designed not only as a Group B entry, but also as an advertisement for everything Porsche; that’s why he kept some aspects of the 911, the brand’s much more affordable offering. On the track, the 959 bore the name 961; he saw the entry at Le Mans and finished 7th in the IMSA category; he was retired the following year in 1987 after being run over halfway through the race.
The Paris-Dakar rally
By the time the 959 was ready to race and could compete in Group B, it was 1984, in two seasons the World Rally Championship had been firmly shaken, and the guarantee of Porsche domination was not there. . With the race being largely both for a manufacturer’s prestige but also for sales, losing was unattractive, especially against Audi and Peugeot.
Porsche therefore looked elsewhere for the opportunity to demonstrate engineering power. They concluded that registering the 959 for the 1985 Paris-Dakar rally, an equally well-publicized but less competitive and above all less expensive event, would be the right place to roll out the 959 development models. Nowadays, a rally like this would be done in a modified Macan model.
But the relatively low-profile 959 held up well in the race, with modified undercarriage, suspension, mudguards and all-terrain tires, it had no problem getting its power down over gravel and gravel. sand, which is remarkable considering how the car looks to the road. goes models. . However, tragedy struck and all three cars broke down.
The 959’s year of rally success came in 1986, when all three of Porsche’s competitors took first, second and fifth place, a successful advertisement for the Porsche brand as well as sponsors like Rothmans who featured on this now iconic livery. To avoid the catastrophic results of 1985, the 1986 car ran with a detuned engine with only 400 hp.
After Porsche’s victory with the 959 prototype in the Paris-Dakar rally, the 959 went into production, meaning that not only did it hit the streets to race, but teams could then race it in Group B without be a factory time. Group B would not be racing for the 1987 season, so the 959 didn’t have another chance to shine; instead, it was the champion of Paris-Dakar and a particular relic of the 1980s. In 1988, a sequel came out, the 959, with bigger turbochargers. This car produced 508 hp and was produced in even smaller numbers; only twenty-nine were sold.
The all-new Royal Enfield Classic 350 forms a beautiful connection between the past and the future, without losing its charm.
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