Beyond being an obvious test of driving skill in difficult conditions, rallying has always held a fascination for the fact that “normal” cars, though with modified specs, are the ones pelting around a course or country road. Watching a Peugeot 206 or Ford Fiesta tearing it up definitely makes fans feel closer to the sport and makes it a lot easier to imagine being a rally driver yourself whenever inadvertently skidding on pebbles.
This common touch is one of the defining elements of the sport, dating back to the original amateur grand tourers, so the last thing you expect to see are supercars kitted out for rallying. Well, that’s exactly what we were thinking and so decided to visualise what some of the world’s fanciest performance cars, among others, would look like if they were to compete in the WRC.
1. Bugatti Divo Rally Car
Bugatti’s are renowned for their speed, hardly surprising with the Veyron and Chiron both capable of clocking well over 400 kph. They aren’t all about straight-line racing though, in fact the tag line for their new Divo is “Happiness isn’t just around the corner, it is the corner”. So maybe they’ve actually been trying to build rally cars all this time and were just misunderstood. With the downforce generated by its massive hydraulically actuated rear wing, the car is perfectly built to put its quad-turbocharged 16-cylinder 8.0L engine to full use, while still being able to manoeuvre nimbly in and out of rain-soaked corners.
2. Ford GT40 Rally Car
The GT40 is one of the greatest racing cars the world has ever seen, though that’s obviously an easier title to claim on an oval speedway. To truly be worthy of such high praise the GT40 should also give rallying a shot. What would it look like? Well it would have to have the classic blue and orange, “Gulf Oil” colours from its Shelby heyday, while its lower centre of gravity and relatively wide wheelbase would give it a serious boost when it comes to tricky cornering.
3. Ferrari Portofino Rally Car
The Portofino is Ferrari’s “everyday” car, you know, the one you jump into when popping down to the servo to pick up some milk. As it’s their entry-level Ferrari for the common person, it’s the most obvious car for them to introduce to rallying. Expect plenty of pony from its twin-turbo V8. 591 ponies to be precise. While the lightweight aluminium chassis would mean it could accelerate like a rocket, but with slightly better handling.
4. Koenigsegg Regera Rally Car
Acceleration certainly wouldn’t be an issue with a Koenigsegg Regera rally car. The Swedish supercar makers famously did away with the very confusing multi-gear setup that so many manufacturers persist with in favour of a single fixed gear. The early speed is provided by electric motors which combine to give it the fastest acceleration in the world, 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) in a mind-blowing 2.8 seconds. It wouldn’t matter how tricky the course, in the Regera you could navigate turns like you were pushing a pram full of Faberge eggs then basically warp drive yourself to the next one. With the car’s speed topping out at around 402 kph (250 mph), which it gets to in 20 seconds, a rallying experience would feel like just doing the exciting stuff, without having to waste time on the boring straight road bits.
5. Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Rally Car
Going fast can be fun, but you can do that anywhere. The real thrill of rallying is barrelling along a dirt track with an almighty beast of a vehicle, getting drenched in mud and smashing through the undergrowth. What better car for that exact purpose than one which was named after a heroic bull. The Lamborghini Aventador doesn’t just bring power however (and with 690bhp it brings plenty of that), it’s the first Lamborghini to have their state-of-the-art Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attiva, giving it huge amounts of extra downforce and reductions in drag, to make handling at brutally high speeds a thing of leisure.
6. McLaren Senna Rally Car
Named in honour of one of the greatest icons of motorsport, it would be fitting to have the McLaren Senna prove itself outside of the track too. The prominent, electronically-adjustable rear wing would certainly help with handling, as well as functioning as an air-brake if you were getting near its 340 kph (211 mph) top speed, though its ultra-cool Brambo carbon ceramic brakes are pretty nifty at bringing you back down to zero in a hurry too. As can be expected with McLaren, they bring their Formula 1 knowledge to bear with a roof scoop and front and side air intakes to keep its twin-turbo V8 ticking nicely, so it’d certainly be interesting to see if track expertise could bring success in a more “natural” environment.
7. Tesla Model X Rally Car
For a whole new take on rallying, the Tesla Model X would really shake up the old order. Being all-electric it would have frightening acceleration though unfortunately without any of the engine noise that makes the sport so thrilling. Not to be deterred however, the Model X already has all wheel drive as well as Tesla’s unique, Smart Air Suspension while its performance edition doubles up the rear motor’s power to 503 bhp. It sounds like they were planning for a foray into rallying all along and with Elon Musk still at the helm who would be surprised?
8. Reliant Robin Rally Car
Maybe not the most obvious of rally cars but the Reliant Robin would certainly be a much-loved people’s champion wherever it did turn out. The Robin does have some features which would be advantageous as a rally car, like its super-lightweight fibreglass frame and aerodynamic frame. Probably its biggest advantage however is the fact that it only has three wheels. That might seem counter intuitive but, as its own engineer explained, as its so much like driving a motorbike, Robin drivers become hyper-aware of the car’s limitations, forcing them to become expert wheel handlers. A glorious underdog, crowds would surely carry it shoulder-high from the finish line if it were even able to finish a race without turning over at least once.
The world of rallying is currently graced by some heavily modified and slick looking “normal” cars and that’s all well and good. But as you can see from these fantastic illustrations however the addition of some more glamorous (and not-so-glamorous) models would definitely improve the field.
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