Group A


Group A

In relation to motorsport governed by the FIA, Group A referred to a set of regulations providing production-derived vehicles for outright competition. In contrast to the short-lived Group B and the Group C, the Group A referred to production-derived vehicles limited in terms of power, weight, allowed technology and overall cost. Group A was aimed at ensuring a large number of privately-owned entries in races.

Group A was introduced by the FIA in 1982 to replace the outgoing Group 2 as "modified touring cars", while Group N would replace Group 1 as "standard touring cars".

Homologation

To qualify for homologation, a minimum of 2500 cars of the competing model had to be built in one year, out of 25,000 for the entire range of the model (eg: 2500 Subaru Impreza WRX, out of 25,000 Subaru Impreza. Up to 1991, the requirement was a minimum of 5000 cars in one year, without regards to the entire range, but the FIA allowed "Evolution" models to be homologated with a minimum of 500 cars (eg: BMW M3 Sport Evo, Mercedes-Benz W201 Evo). Rules also required some of the interior panels to be retained, e.g. interior door panels and dashboard.

However, not all manufacturers who built 500 such models sold them all, some stripped the majority of them to rebuild them as stock models or used them to allow teams to use modified parts. One such example of this was Volvo with the 240 Turbo in 1985. After they had produced 500 such models, Volvo stripped 477 cars of their competition equipment and sold them as standard 240 turbo roadcars. As a result, after FISA's failed attempt at finding an "Evolution" car in any European countries, Volvo were forced to reveal the names of all 500 "evo" owners to be permitted to compete. The other example was Ford, after selling off their entire RS500 stocks, they read the rulebooks and found themselves that rather than using either the Sierra Cosworths or the RS500s, they could use the body of the basic 3-door Sierra, which Ford was discontinuing, and use their Evolution equipment on them. Nowadays, these cars are treated as any other model in the range.

Touring Cars

For touring car competition, vehicles such as the Ford Sierra Cosworth and Nissan Skyline GT-R were provided. In the European Touring Car Championship, Group A consisted of three divisions, Division 3 - for cars over 2500cc, Division 2 - for car engine size that are between 1600-2500cc , Division 1 for cars that are less than 1600cc. These cars competed in standard bodykits, with the production-derived nature required manufactures to release faster vehicles for the roads in order to be competitive on the track. Tyre width were dependent on the car's engine size.

Group A stopped being used in touring car racing in 1994, when the German Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) switched to a 2.5 L class 1 formula, while in Japan by that year as the Japanese Touring Car Championship organisers followed suit and switched classes like most other countries who had adopted the British Touring Car Championship-derived Supertouring regulations, many of the redundant Skylines found a new home in the form of the JGTC (Japanese GT Championship) with modified aerodynamic devices, showing its competitiveness whilst being up against Group C, former race modified roadcars and specially developed racers, like the Toyota Supras during the earlier years. For 1993 the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport replaced Group A (or Group 3A as it was officially known there [CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, 1989, page 227] ) with a new formula for Australian Touring Car racing. This was initially open to five litre V8 powered cars and two litre cars (later to become known as V8 Supercars and Super Touring Cars respectively). Hillclimb races still use Group A as a Touring Car class across Europe.

Rallying

Under Group A in the World Rally Championship, the cars used were modified road cars, often based on turbocharged, four wheel drive versions of small cars such as the Lancia Delta Integrale, Toyota Celica GT-Four, Nissan Pulsar GTI-R, Subaru Impreza WRX and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. In order to be homologated, manufacturers were required to produce 5,000 units worldwide, and then in 1993 this number was reduced to 2,500. The cars are further modified for greater power and torque, and fitted with suspension and tires specifically suited to the conditions of the specific rally, which may take place entirely on asphalt roads, different consistencies of gravel and dirt roads and even snow/ice-covered roads on some rallies held in northern Europe. Group A is still used as the basis for most rally competitions around the world, but the most competitive cars are limited-production prototypes, known as World Rally Cars and Super 1600. The last WRC car to use the old Group A homologation requirement was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI.

Series that used the Group A formula

*Australian Touring Car Championship 1985-1992
*Australian 2.0 Litre Touring Car Championship 1986-1987
*Australian Endurance Championship 1985-1986 & 1990-1992
*Australian Manufacturers' Championship 1985-1991
*British Touring Car Championship 1983-1990
*Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft 1984-1992
*European Touring Car Championship 1982-1988
*All Japan Touring Car Championship 1985-1993
*World Rally Championship 1987-2001
*World Touring Car Championship 1987

The cars

* Alfa Romeo 33
* Alfa Romeo 75
* Alfa Romeo Alfasud
* Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV and GTV/6
* Audi Coupé GT5E
* Audi 80 GLE
* Austin Metro
* BMW 323i
* BMW 5 series
* BMW 635 CSi
* BMW M3 E30
* Fiat Uno
* Ford Capri
* Ford Falcon XE
* Ford Escort RS 1600i
* Ford Escort RS Cosworth
* Ford Mustang
* Ford Sierra Cosworth and RS500
* Ford Sierra XR4Ti and XR4i
* Holden Commodore VK
* Holden Commodore VL
* Holden Commodore VN
* Holden Gemini
* Honda Civic 3rd gen./EF/EG
* Jaguar XJS
* Lancia Delta Integrale
* Maserati Biturbo
* Mazda 323 GTX/GT-R
* Mazda 929
* Mazda RX-7 SA22
* Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16
* Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
* Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution I - VI
* Mitsubishi Starion
* Nissan Gazelle
* Nissan Pulsar EN13
* Nissan Pulsar GTI-R
* Nissan Skyline RS-X
* Nissan Skyline GTS-R
* Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
* Opel Ascona
* Opel Monza 3.0E
* Rover SD1 3500/Vitesse
* Subaru Impreza
* Subaru Legacy
* Subaru Vivio
* Talbot Sunbeam TI
* Toyota Celica Supra
* Toyota Celica ST162
* Toyota Celica GT-Four ST165, ST185, ST205
* Toyota Corolla FX AE82
* Toyota Corolla AE86
* Toyota Corolla AE92
* Toyota Corolla AE101
* Toyota Supra and Turbo-A
* Vauxhall Astra GTE/Opel Kadett GSi
* Volvo 240 turbo
* Volvo 360
* Volkswagen Golf GTI
* Volkswagen Scirocco

References

External links

* [http://homepage.mac.com/frank_de_jong/Pages/part5.html Frank de Jong's Group A ETCC section]


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