Just imagine what it would have looked like in full flight.
As the Group B era of the World Rally Championship reached its height in the mid-1980s, several of the competing manufacturers started work on a new generation of cars that was even more extreme, dubbed Group S.
Audi was one of those manufacturers. Moving away entirely from the - loosely - production-based Sport Quattro, it devised a mid-engined car with a spaceframe chassis, plastic bodywork, and a 20-valve version of the Quattro’s five-cylinder engine.
The Group S category was all set to launch for the 1987 season, but a number of terrible, fatal crashes during ‘86 involving Group B cars led to both being shelved by the FIA.
Ever since then, the Audi Group S prototype has essentially been a museum piece. But last weekend, it was brought of hibernation and run in public for the very first at the Eifel Rallye Festival in Germany.
The Eifel Rallye is one of the biggest events in Historic rallying. Hundreds of incredibly diverse cars take part, many of them ex-factory machines, dating from the 1950s and 1960s, right through the more recent Group B, Group A, and WRC eras.
Looking a lot like a GTP race car, the Audi Group S proved to be one of the stars of the show. Despite the car being absolutely priceless and irreplaceable, the driver wasn’t afraid to mash the throttle a bit, as you can see in the footage above. And even though he's only pushing a little, it still looks quick. Just imagine what it would have been capable of in full flight.
Gallery: Audi Group S prototype
Between 21 and 23 July, tens of thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to Daun, the “Mecca” of historical rally sport, to see the legendary cars of the 1980s. Audi Tradition will once again be appearing this year and offering fans of the brand something rather special at the Eifel Rallye Festival: Developed 30 years ago and never raced, the Audi Group S mid-engine rally prototype will take part in a rally event for the first time. What's more, the Audi Sport quattro Rally will be driven by two-time German champion Harald Demuth. The Audi Sport quattro S1, highly regarded in the rally world, completes the Audi Tradition line-up in Daun, Rhineland-Palatinate.