Silverstone Classic gets Group B fever

Examples of the Ford RS200, Audi Sport Quattro, Peugeot 205T16, Lancia 037 and MG Metro 6R4 will all be in action at the Silverstone Classic (25/26/27 July) as a demonstration special stage plays host to a glorious collection of ex-works rally cars from the Group B era.

The most dramatic and powerful cars in rallying history will be put through their paces on a spectacular special stage at the Becketts end of the National Straight, with the first session on Friday afternoon followed by three sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday.

A tremendous line-up of 30 cars from rallying history will be in action and many of them have notable period histories. Among the Audi Quattros will be cars previously rallied by legends Hannu Mikkola and Michele Mouton, while an ex-David Llewellin Metro 6R4, one of two such cars in the field, will delight the fans of Austin Rover's Group B project. Three ex-works Ford RS200s, including an ex-Jesus Puras car, will join two Peugeot 205T16s, one rallied in period by American driver Jon Woodner.

Taking the rallying story back to before the Group B era will be selected cars from the late 1970s and early 1980s, when two-wheel drive was still the dominant force in international rallying.

Star cars include an ex-Malcolm Wilson Ford Escort Mk2, an ex-Simo Lampinen Triumph TR7V8, and ex-Tony Pond Vauxhall Chevette HSR and an ex-Stig Blomqvist Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. These cars will be some of the most spectacularly driven of all, and the TR7V8 and the Escort Mk2 will be particular crowd favourites.

The Group B era of the early 1980s was rallying's most outlandish time, with unbelievably powerful cars being developed by the major manufacturers in their bid for success in the World Rally Championship. Introduced for the 1982 season, the Group B regulations were remarkably liberal; if manufacturers built 200 identical cars, then they could rally them. With few restrictions on weight, materials and engine power, the manufacturers exploited the regulations to the full with four-wheel drive, supercharged and turbocharged engines. At the peak of Group B the leading engines were delivering more than 600bhp.

Although few cars from the Group B era are now able to compete in contemporary rallies, many of them have been lovingly restored by current owners and are used in demonstration events under the guidance of 'Slowly Sideways'.

The times for the Group B Rally Demonstration at the Silverstone Classic are:

Friday July 25: 16.00 to 17.00

Saturday July 26: 11.30 to 13.00, 15.30 to 17.00 and 20.15 to 21.00

Sunday July 27: 11.30 to 13.00 and 15.30 to 17.00

Event Background

The annual Silverstone Classic festival will be organised and promoted by Motion Works UK Limited (MWUK), the company recently licensed by Silverstone to stage the event for the next five years.

The annual Silverstone Classic is a celebration of motor racing across all decades from the 1920s to the 1990s on a current FIA approved circuit and is not totally historic as it also invites more contemporary races such as Group C, Saloons and late Formula One cars to be raced and seen in their appropriate surroundings. Classic Car Owner Clubs from across the UK and overseas play an important supporting role in recent years with 4,000 cars expected this year. The event Auction remains an important landmark and features such as the Scarf & Goggles meeting area, art & photo galleries, period air displays, funfairs, themed catering, will be retained and enhanced, with new attractions being added over the next few years.