Rally-Ready Audi R4 Concept Could be the Revival WRC Needs

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In 1985, Audi won its final race of the World Rally Championship with the iconic Quattro. It marked the team’s 23rd win, highlighting six successful seasons and two championships. But even with all its success, Audi hung up its rally helmet for good in 1986 with the disestablishment of Group B, and never looked back.

Fast forward nearly 30 years; with the departure of cars like the Quattro, the WRC grid has never been the same. Thomas Gilbert—a design student from the UK—wants to change all that.

His vision for a revived Audi rally car comes in the form of the futuristic R4. It’s unlike anything currently in the Audi lineup, and that’s good news. Like the iconic Quattro, it’s aggressive, angular, and ready to conquer the rally stage.

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“My intention with this design was a taut, agile, and aggressive car,” says Gilbert. “Visibly powerful and extremely lively to drive. The front and rear DRGs help to define this character. The front is menacing, with a focus on aerodynamic function and cooling. It is dominated by a row of projector lamps, held under an ‘aero deck’ which cuts drag and produces downforce. The headlamp DRLs are in-keeping with Audi’s usual signature.”

Heralding back to not only the Quattro, but cars like the Lancia Stratos, Ford RS200, and even Subaru Impreza WRC (take note of the roof wings), the R4 concept combines old and new, taking the historic design language and translating it the modern world.

But it’s not just historic design Gilbert hopes to revive with his concept—the R4 concept was destined for Group B rally racing, he says.

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“Once the most followed sport in the world, WRC is now dwindling. The answer: bring back ‘Group B,’ the ’80s extreme rallying series. Wild cars and a free rule book, attracting top manufacturers, drivers, innovators—and more fans, just as in the ’80s!”

With a concept as stunning as the R4, we can get on board with the #BringBackGroupB movement.

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