By on July 31, 2014


Motorsports fans, I have a question for you: when was the last competitive rear-drive rally car?

Having grown up in an era of WRC homogeneity (the biggest departure from the pack was the front-drive Citroens of the Sebastian Loeb era), it’s always a bit of a surprise to see any rally car that isn’t all-wheel drive and turbocharged, let alone one that sends power to the rear wheels.

The GT86 rally car, shown above, is being developed by Toyota for competition in WRC. Power is boosted to between 237 and 246 horsepower, with a rally-style sequential box sending power to the rear wheels. For now, the GT86 will serve as a “recce” vehicle, with WRC competition serving as the end goal.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

19 Comments on “Return Of The Rear-Drive Rally Car...”

  • avatar

    Lancia Abarth 037, 1983.

    • 0 avatar

      In 1986, the third round of the WRC was won with a Renault 5 Turbo. Rounds four and ten of the WRC drivers’ championship were won in Toyota Celica TCTs, which were also RWD. While the 037 may have been the last RWD car to win a title, I think that’s setting the bar pretty high for the definition of competitive.

  • avatar

    Ah, for the days of the Sunbeam Rapier and the Alpine rallys. Didn’t the Laycock de Normanville electric overdrive give them a 6 or 7 speed transmission with which to play?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    It would have be pre-Quattro, so early ’80s something-or-other.

  • avatar

    It wasn’t quite pre-Quattro. Mid-engine RWD cars had a (short) decent run, and for front-engined rwds,the Escort MK2 and Opel Ascona B still had a fighting chance in the WRC before they figured out how to make the Quattro go through turns, which took some reasonably oversized balls to figure out… (it really can’t turn, you have to get off the throttle,or handbrake turn it, let it slide, and then apply throttle again when the cars is facing the direction you want to go…)
    4WD cars started winning about when Walter Rørhl went from Opel, through Lancia, then to Quattros…coincidence?

    • 0 avatar

      I own an A6 quattro. If you ever end up on ice in the winter, the way it responds is weird.

      My rear wheel drive pickups will kick the back end out (Oversteer)

      A FWD sedan will kind of plow on, not turning much (Understeer)

      The Audi kind of just “pulls you along”. It was a weird feeling the first time it happened. It’s not bad once you figure out how to control it. It is different, though.

      At rally speeds, I’m sure it’s quite… “different”

  • avatar

    BMW e30 M3, winner WRC Rally Corsica 1987. On tarmac, of course.

  • avatar

    Before AWD took over in the 1980’s it looks like the Sunbeam lotus was the last car.

    the other great cars of the time (70’s) were the Lancia Stratos, the Alpine A110, the Ford Escort RS1800 and the Fiat 131 Arbarth.

    I believe the 80’s saw a few RWD successes like the mad Renault 5, but by then AWD was starting to dominate.

  • avatar

    FIA are working on a new rear-wheel drive rally-class called R-GT. Work started in 2011, but they still don’t have a class structure or basic homologation rules. Maybe they’ll get it sorted one day.

  • avatar

    Just to clarify: When Loeb started to dominate the championships, Citroens were already all wheel drive. That was in 2002 and later. The FWD Xsaras competed several years before, around ’98/’99 if I remember correctly. When it comes to Citroens, that was the Bugalski era, not Loeb.

  • avatar

    The WRC GT-86 has already been built and is in testing in Finland. It is also a AWD.

    The GT86 CS-R3, is another vehicle and will be for sale the first quarter of 2015.

    WRC-3 cars are all 2wd whether FWD or RWD.

  • avatar

    Boo! Toyota can’t compete in any Motorsport without cheating.

  • avatar

    Any racing where the fronts do more than trigger sensors either outlaws AWD, gives it a weight penalty, financially constrains it or is dominated by AWD.

  • avatar

    I’ll believe it when it see it (the actual WRC car, not a recon vehicle). For now, can Toyota at least beat Audi in WEC before taking on some other ideas?

  • avatar

    I have to mention my favorite, the VG30E-powered Nissan S12 200SX, which took 2nd and 3rd place in Group A at the 1988 Safari Rally, followed by a pair of Supras in 3rd and 4th. 2nd place in the 1989 Safari Rally was also taken by an S12. (Both rallies were won by Delta Integrales.)

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • sgeffe: You don’t feel flat after doing so!
  • Buickman: market share is something GM hasn’t known how to increase since the duPont’s divested. the...
  • mtr2car1: I’m not sure its the ads that generate the “good will” that Elon thinks it does, but I...
  • SCE to AUX: “Though it’s difficult to imagine anybody visiting a showroom within the last 12 months having any...
  • golden2husky: No surprise – dealers for the most part are opportunistic scum. But while “car...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber