“Evolution” has become a popular word for a newly developed rally car said to be intended to form the basis of some kind of production. Why people don’t use the good old-fashioned “prototype” we can’t imagine, unless it be that this word may engender suspicions that homologation requirements are, or will be, circumnavigated.
Since the coming of the Quattro all manner of such cars have been knocked together, taken apart, reassembled a different way and taken apart again. Some have been so disappointing that they have been scrapped, whilst others have survived to become “evolution” cars, hopefully to be Quattro-beaters.
Last month we published a drawing of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, but how and in what form this will be produced, for competition or otherwise, remains to be seen. In essence, it is to the 205 exactly what the Renault R5 Turbo is to the R5, with the addition of an extra driving axle. There are other cars of a similar origin, and their appearance (or concealment, as the case may be) must have brought grins to Ingolstadt faces, for Audi is not content to rest on Quattro laurels even when the car is still a winner; already they have another 4-w-d car on the way, with January 1 the target homologation date.
The new car will be shorter than the existing Quattro, almost like a scaled-down version of its big brother, “but much more beautiful”, as one Audi man put it. It won’t be a two-seater, but more of a two-plus-two than a full four. It is said to have a new engine, but this will be based on the same 5-cylinder block as the present car.
The whole project has been passed by both company boards, and prototypes have been running successfully. Test driver has been Frenchman Bernard Darniche, for Mikkola has been far too busy rallying to have any development time to spare. Darniche will join the team to drive a third Quattro in the Tour of Corsica in early May. — G.P.