Group B monsters set for McRae Rally Challenge

Alongside the McRae Rally Challenge sponsored by Beatsons’ Building Supplies event at May’s motor rallying festival at Knockhill there will be a celebration of the excesses of the 1980s when big power and big wings provided the big spectacle in world rallying.


This was a time of “more of everything”, and car manufacturers plus race and rally teams responded with some of the most fearsomely powered machinery ever seen on track and stage. In Formula 1 the era of turbochargers, wings and huge tyres created motorised monsters with 1,000hp and more.

Things were not quite so outrageous in rallying, but the desire to win led to the creation of beasts with 600hp. It also made instant ‘superstars’ of any driver who could master such a monster. Names such as Hannu Mikkola, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist, Walter Rohrl and Juha Kankkunen were instantly revered by rally fans across the world. From the UK, the names of Tony Pond, David Lewellyn, Malcolm Wilson and our own Jim McRae still ring in the ears of rally fans today.


To celebrate those halcyon days, the ‘McRae Rally Challenge’ supported by Beatsons’ Building Supplies and EventScotland will host a display of this exotic Group B rally machinery.

Current generation rally cars may lack the fire-spitting raw power of these past automotive brutes, but such is the pace of technological progress that the latest rally machines can match and better the performance of these cars which had twice the power 30 years ago.

That does little to lessen the appeal of these cars of yesteryear and British rally fans will have the chance to get up close and personal to a variety of these machines at the Knockhill event and also get the chance to hear them once more as they indulge in a nostalgic ‘drive-past’ parade around the 1.3 mile Scottish track.

At present, the line-up includes examples of the first of the turbo cars, the Audi Quattro Sport plus a Lancia Delta and Beta, and a Toyota Celica GT4. The display will also feature the iconic MG Metro 6R4 and from Ford, a Sierra Cosworth and RS200. Naturally there will be quite a few Subarus around, and also many Ford Escorts, a Vauxhall Chevette HSR and a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.

Knockhill Events Director, Stuart Gray said: “It’s looking like the biggest ever gathering in Scotland of Group B rally cars since they were in action three decades ago. These cars typified the excesses of the 1980s, they still look fabulous, sound glorious and are hugely powerful, some with 3 times the power output of to-days’ World Rally Cars.”

Commenting on the growing list of stars and exhibits for the McRae Rally Challenge, Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Events Director said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we are delighted to be supporting the McRae Rally Challenge. With off-track displays of history-making rally cars, Owners Clubs and trade stands, and demonstrations, as well as the main competitive rally, there is undoubtedly something for everyone.”

Tickets for the McRae Rally Challenge event sponsored by Beatsons’ Building Supplies (16/17th May) are on sale now via the Knockhill website – with pre-booking discounts on all advanced ticket purchases.

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