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  •   Davy Lewis reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Event report – #Audi-Quattro at Kop Hill / #Audi / #Quattro / #Audi-MB-Quattro /

    King of the Hill John Ford recalls an excursion to the #2015 Kop #Hill-Climb in his MB quattro…

    ‘The next car is number 571, an #Audi quattro MB, famous for winning rallies and starring in Ashes to Ashes, remember that...? And this car has upgrades including a water-cooled turbo… ’ and then all that could be heard was the roar of the famous 10-valve exhaust and I was off! A few highrpm gearchanges to entertain the expectant crowd and it was on up the hill through the trees…

    This September, that was the reception and the start at the #Kop-Hill-Climb as it was boomed out over the loudspeakers to the many hundreds if not thousands of spectators lining the track and watching from the grandstands alongside the start of the hill run.

    My enthusiasm for the Kop Hill weekend started several years ago, when I applied to have my MB quattro on display in the club paddock, where around 300 cars are on show for what I found to be admiring and surprisingly knowledgeable car enthusiasts, many of them fans of the quattro. In addition, the hill climb added a greater array of cars and the hill run provided some fantastic sounds and atmosphere. There is also an entrants paddock where you can admire the cars and talk to the owners alongside, while they prepare to go and then return from the hill run.

    This year I asked if it was possible to enter an application for the hill run, but the event is mainly for older cars pre- and post-war up to the 1970s so I wasn’t all that hopeful of a reply. There is limited space for what are called exotic cars, and seeing that this year there were around 150 rejections overall, including some very worthy applicants, I was not very optimistic. However, I was delighted to be accepted!

    Other exotic cars included a 2012 Ferrari 458, 2007 Lamborghini Spyder, 1997 Ferrari 550 and a Bertini GT – I think eight in total, so I was in impressive company in this section…

    Most cars have one day on the hill and one day in the paddock, and this initially was my schedule. I had an e-mail stating that I was among some special cars being offered the weekend, would I like to take part... Would I?! When will this dream end...? Garage pre-checks followed, plus a visit to Harraps and Hedges bodyshop of Chesham in order to be worthy of the day.

    The whole weekend’s weather was remarkably sunny and warm, and the day started with the debrief, instructions, current facts of law on hill runs, 60 mph? ‘Are there any here with experience of hill runs, sprints etc?’ Lots of hands going up... ‘It’s not relevant here, you are here to entertain, meaning (I was sure) amongst other factors wheelspinning starts (but not for 4-wheel drive), high revs and lots of noise at this event.

    When you are called, it’s like running a close gauntlet of lines of spectators, possibly preferring here to be closer than to the runs, some did come up to show appreciation and chat, which was nice, and also some banter from the marshals while waiting turn. This I experienced a lot of over the weekend, along with lots of mutual nice exchanges from participants.

    On the grid, there is an announcement about the car and its owner and its history, for all participants over the loudspeakers, then the flag is down and off you go, highrev gearchanges and up the hill. The hill itself is not particularly challenging for the MB, but it’s very narrow, enclosed by trees. There are stations of marshals, who I understood are professionals, some from Silverstone, who are there, we were informed at debrief, to ensure you are driving within the limits of your car.

    Then you get waved down at the finish. ‘That’s not very long’, came the comment from one of my passengers, maybe one tenth of the Nürburgring, but overall much more fun!

    That’s not the finish, though, as on the return there are many spectators on the route, with much hooting and waving really adding to the occasion and there are two runs each day.

    Probably the most memorable and what summed up the weekend, was when the photography section asked me for a favour: ‘Could you speak to a teacher and a pupil from the local school...?’ They own this field. Much of this event is run by vast numbers of volunteers and the school with the pupils organising the photographs in co-operation with the local rotary. They wanted me to show my car and give a hill run ride to a pupil, to give them more experience with the event. Did I have choice? Of course I would!

    Afterwards, parents came and photos and chats made the event what Kop Hill is brilliant at. It is now mentioned alongside Goodwood. This year £75,000 was raised for charity. So, petrolheads, bring your family and enjoy a carnival atmosphere at Kop Hill!

    John’s 1989 MB quattro was featured in our quattro special theme in the March 2014 edition of Audi Driver, and it was also a star attraction of the quattro Owners’ Club display at the 2015 Classic Motor Show at the NEC.

    KOP HILL CLIMB, the historic hill climb weekend, that takes place in The Chiltern Hills near Princes Risborough each September, has announced a record attendance of around 16,500, and near perfect weather for the two-day extravaganza of cars, motorcycles and the special festival atmosphere that attracts car enthusiasts and families alike, with the amazing amount of £75,000 raised by the event this year.

    John Biggs, the organiser of the event, said ‘I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who visited the event, and made it possible to raise such a fantastic sum for charity: the spectators who came in their thousands, the wonderful support from sponsors and exhibitors, and of course the entrants, who brought their cherished vehicles for us to see. A big thankyou also to the hundreds of volunteers, without whom the event just couldn’t take place. I think Kop Hill Climb is the best value event for £10 anywhere in Buckinghamshire’.

    The event this year saw over 400 vehicles each day taking on the famous Kop Hill and on display in the paddock. Vehicles ranged in age from the early 1900’s to modern day exotics, so whatever the personal preference there was something for all.

    There was a spectacular collection of historic race cars running the hill, including the iconic Napier-Railton from Brooklands Museum and the 1922 Isle of Man TT winning Sunbeam Grand Prix car.

    Kop Hill Climb is run entirely by volunteers and is operated under Heart of Bucks – Buckinghamshire’s Community Foundation – with the sole aim of raising money for local community projects and charities. The event has raised £305,000 since the revival first took place in 2009. The 2016 event will be staged over the weekend of September 17-18. See: for more details.

    ‘There is also an entrants paddock where you can admire the cars and talk to the owners alongside...’

    ‘On the grid, there is an announcement about the car and its owner and its history, for all participants over the loudspeakers, then the flag is down and off you go...’

    ‘My enthusiasm for the Kop Hill weekend started several years ago, when I applied to have my MB quattro on display in the club paddock...’
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  •   Chris Rees reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    FACE OFF! Group B icon Vs. rallycross monster. S1 E2VS1 EKS RX. Pics courtesy

    These two S1s may have been created 35 years apart but they share a surprising amount of DNA… Face off – S1 E2 versus S1 EKS RX.

    Back in the halcyon days of rallying, there was only one car for me – the #Audi S1 E2. This Group B machine had it all: extreme looks, savage performance and the kind of sound track that could wake the dead. The fact it was a real handful to drive just added to the legend. It’s the car that Walther Röhrl drove to victory in the gruelling Pikes Peak event, complete with its be-winged aero battle armour. A fierce, fire breathing machine that emitted an off-note warble, punctuated by loud bangs from the anti-lag system. As a snapshot of the 80s, it captured the excess perfectly.

    With the banning of Group B, the S1 E2, along with many other legendary cars such as the 205 T16 and Lancia 037 were left with nowhere to go. Victims of their own success you might say. At the time, many commentators said that the world would never see the likes of these crazy machines again.
    But they were wrong.

    In 2014, we got word of a new generation of S1 that would be competing in the World Rallycross series. Based (loosely) on the S1 road car, it promised over 500bhp and was designed and built to be flung around Rallycross courses all over Europe. It is, in effect, the spiritual successor to the original S1.

    Technology has moved on significantly over the last 35 years. From turbo design, featuring ultra responsive variable vein technology, to suspension which is able to keep a car planted and stable when it lands after a big jump, there’s no doubt that the new S1 would destroy an original in a head-to-head race. But this isn’t about asking which is better, or faster; it’s about appreciating both cars and looking at how the S1 has evolved for the modern age.

    The original S1 was a thing of compromise. While other teams were building well balanced, mid-engined machines that were right on the pace, the Audi quattro was big and nose heavy. The Short Sport was born to try and quell that issue and reduce some weight. A lighter alloy block helped, as did the more upright windscreen to reduce glare from the sun. The vast cooling system was moved to the rear, to get more weight off the front, and top wheelmen Stiq Blomqvist and Walter Röhrl were tasked with piloting the thing. The addition of a lockable diff meant the rear could be more easily brought into play, while towards the end of its career, the S1 E2 received a primitive version of what we know today as a DSG transmission. Even so, the S1 was a very analogue beast. You had to really drive the thing and have a full understanding of its shortcomings. Walter Röhrl said it was one of his favourite cars of all time – citing the challenge of driving it on the limit as one of the main reasons. Here was a car that still had three pedals, a regular manual gearbox and even featured steel body panels.

    The S1 EKS RX is a very different machine to the S1 E2. For starters it was designed and built with a specific purpose in mind – the Rallycross series. Unlike the S1 E2, it wasn’t an adapted version of an existing car, so it had a clear brief. With modern CAD, hightech composite materials, plus access to the latest technology in braking, suspension and engines, this was always going to be a ruthlessly efficient machine.

    Designed to compete in short, high intensity events, the S1 EKS didn’t need the longevity required of a rally car. They do however need to make a good start, which is where the power and suspension all comes together. Being able to lay down a savage launch and get ahead of the pack is critical to success in this event. The suspension in particular takes a lot of development as it has to cope with tarmac and gravel – the original S1 would have been set up according to the rally it was competing in.

    There’s a six-speed sequential box with a mechanical shifter for lightening fast shifts. The 2.0 turbo engine creates over 560hp and is capable of taking the S1 from rest to 60mph in just 2secs – on a dirt track. Last year, S1 EKS RX lead driver, Mattias Ekström was joined by Röhrl, who drove the S1 EKS. He is said to have remarked on the modern S1’s unbelievable power, lightness as well as telepathic handling and immediate gear shifts. Ekström commented that Röhrl approached some corners faster than he did!

    At the time of writing, the S1 EKS has not had the success that the team has hoped for. Having said that, fifth in the team standings and sixth for Ekström in the drivers’ championship offers something to build on. As to the question, which of these machines is best? Well, clearly, the modern S1, dripping with the latest in race car technology is the more capable and competitive car. But, I’d bet my last Jelly Baby, that almost all of you reading this, like me, would take the original S1 E2.

    Above: Bumper to bumper action. Below: Rally cars and a road going S1.

    QUICK SPECS #Audi-S1-EKS-RX-quattro / #Audi-S1 / #Audi /
    Year: #2015
    Category: Supercar
    Engine: 2.0 straight-four turbo
    Transmission: 4WD, 6-speed sequential box
    Power: 560hp
    0-60mph: 1.9sec
    Chassis: Reinforced steel body (based on S1)
    Suspension: MacPherson struts, Ohlins dampers
    Brakes: 4-pot calipers with Pagid RS pads
    Wheels: 17in OZ

    TECH DATA #Audi-S1-E2-Quattro / #Audi-S1-E2 / #Audi-S1 / #Audi-Quattro / #Quattro
    Year: #1985
    Category: #Group-B
    Engine: 2.1 five-cylinder turbo
    Transmission: 4WD, synchronised 6-speed manual
    Power: 500hp
    0-60mph: 3sec
    Chassis: Self supporting steel body with sheet steel parts
    Suspension: MacPherson struts with lower wishbone, Boge twin tube spring strut inserts
    Brakes: Two circuit hydraulic system
    Wheels: 16in


    Back in the 1980s, manufacturers had to satisfy strict rules of homologation. To prevent rally teams from producing multi-million pound specials, all competition cars had to be part of a production run of at least 200 road going models for Group B. Consequently, manufacturers created road versions of cars like the Sport quattro – cars that today are worth a small fortune. Sadly, the rules have changed, so manufacturers no longer need to make road going models. Although cars like the S1 EKS must still be loosely based – i.e resemble their production counterparts. They may look similar, but with high-tech spaceframed construction, complex composite bodies and the latest in race car engine technology, they are much further away from the road car than their 80s sibblings were.

    Below: “The S1 E2 is ace!”

    Above: Evolution of the S1...

    “Group B grunt versus modern Rallycross technology”
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