With its newly developed 4-wheel drive in the Quattro, Audi was the clear favourite on the rally scene at the beginning of the 1980’s, gaining the single marque World Champion title in 1982 and 1984. Walter Röhrl’s race to the 4,301 m high summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1987 during the Race to the Clouds hillclimb will never be forgotten. Röhrl was the first driver to cover the mountain track in under 11 minutes on a road which at that time was still mainly covered with gravel.
The powerful turbos, which were capable of generating far in excess of 1,000 horsepower in the short term during practice, finally dominated Formula One from 1983 onwards. One racing car regarded as the most powerful in Formula One history was the 1986 Benetton BMW with an estimated 1,350 horsepower in qualifying trim driven by the Austrian Gerhard Berger. The sophisticated turbos were barred from participating as of 1989, with only naturally aspirated engines with up to 3,500 cm³ being permitted to enter. A major step towards greater safety at this time was the carbon fibre monocoque design. The top Formula One teams in the 1980’s were McLaren, Williams and Ferrari.
Porsche cars were practically unbeatable from the end of the 1970’s in endurance racing. With the 956 and its successor, the 962, Porsche was overall winner on seven consecutive occasions at Le Mans from 1981 to 1987 and for six successive years in the World Sportscar Championship from 1982 to 1986. Among the greatest drivers of this era were Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell, Stefan Bellof and Hans-Joachim Stuck.