GRR

Six incredible cars we can't wait to see on the Forest Rally Stage

22nd May 2024
Simon Ostler

If you’ve never made the trip up to the Forest Rally Stage during the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, this year, perhaps more so than any other, you need to rectify that. Because the 2024 edition of the Forest Rally Stage promises to showcase the most spectacular collection of rally machinery ever assembled at Goodwood.

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By the same token, if you have been to the Forest Rally Stage before, then the experience this year is likely to be very different. Aside from a selection of machines that is set to include many of the most successful rally cars ever made, you can expect a far more immersive and exhilarating environment that encapsulates the true atmosphere of rallying, with busier and more focused paddocks, and jaw dropping sights everywhere you look.

Goodwood’s Forest Rally Stage also allows you a far closer look at the cars in action than you get on the hillclimb itself. You can take a walk into the trees and experience these cars in full flight mere metres away.

The stage itself was designed by 1981 World Rally Champion Hannu Mikkola, and first used at the 2005 Festival of Speed. It’s tight, challenging, and entertaining for both drivers and spectators, who will get see a mix of historic and contemporary rally cars put through their paces.

As for cars you can expect to see up at the Forest Rally Stage? Well, the current entry list spans six decades, beginning with a 1971 Alpine A110 Berlinette and ending with current Rally2 cars from Toyota and Ford. Here are ten of the coolest rally cars we’re looking forward to seeing out on the Forest Rally Stage at the 2024 Festival of Speed.

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Ferrari 308 GTB

Isn’t it just so cool to remember a Ferrari once competed in the World Rally Championship, and actually managed to finish on the podium in 1982. Developed with the blessing of Maranello by the Michelotto team that had worked with racing Ferraris previously, the 308 GTB was transformed into a Group 4 rally car in 1978.

It was immediately competitive in national rally championships across Europe, and won its first rally in ’79 at the Monza Rally. It peaked in ’82, though, when 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Jean-Claude Andruet drove the 308 GTB to a stunning second place finish in an official round of the WRC in Corsica.

For 1983 the 308 was developed into a Group B car, and again, it was successful in domestic competition. Ferrari’s presence in rallying was sadly brought to an end in 1986, however, when the Group B formula was scrapped, and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the like again.

Isn’t it just so cool to remember a Ferrari once competed in the World Rally Championship, and actually managed to finish on the podium in 1982. Developed with the blessing of Maranello by the Michelotto team that had worked with racing Ferraris previously, the 308 GTB was transformed into a Group 4 rally car in 1978.

It was immediately competitive in national rally championships across Europe, and won its first rally in ’79 at the Monza Rally. It peaked in ’82, though, when 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Jean-Claude Andruet drove the 308 GTB to a stunning second place finish in an official round of the WRC in Corsica.

For 1983 the 308 was developed into a Group B car, and again, it was successful in domestic competition. Ferrari’s presence in rallying was sadly brought to an end in 1986, however, when the Group B formula was scrapped, and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the like again.

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Porsche 911 SC

A Porsche in full Rothmans livery will never not be delicious. This car in particular was built specifically for the purpose of providing Porsche’s big-name partner with more real estate to splash that famous blue, white, and gold onto. The Porsche 911 SC was rather hastily thrown together at the time to fill the gap left by a delayed 959 project, paid for in the majority by Rothmans and run by Prodrive in the 1984 European Rally Championship.

It won on seven occasions that year, with Henri Toivonen taking four rally wins at the Ypres 24 Hours, Mille Pistes, Costa Smeralda and Madeira on his way to second in the championship.

Powered by a 3.0-litre flat-six engine, there’ll be no mistaking the sound of the 911 SC as it hurtles through the Forest at Goodwood, while the bulbous wheel arches of its 911 Turbo-derived bodywork look as good now as they did 40 years ago.

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Audi Quattro S1 E2

Is there a more iconic rally car than the Audi Quattro that dominated Group B through much of the early 1980s? Often touted as the most powerful rally car of that era, the Quattro S1 E2 was the ultimate version of the Quattro. Introduced in 1985 with a revised turbocharger it put out more than 500PS (368kW), it truly was a fearsome car to drive.

And then there’s the looks. With an instantly recognisable livery, massive front splitter, and enormous rear wing, this thing looked absolutely ballistic, more often than not spitting flames from its exhausts.

In many ways it’s easy to see why these cars were shelved, they were too extreme for their own good. How thankful we are that they can still be experienced in all their glory on the Forest Rally Stage.

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Toyota Celica GT-Four ST185

In the late 1980s, Lancia looked unbeatable with its Delta Integrale. Toyota was the only other team that looked anywhere close to putting up a fight, and that was mainly due to the quality of its GT-Four.

In ST165 form, the GT-Four took its first WRC victory in Australia in 1989 before Carlos Sainz dominated the 1990 season with five rally wins. Toyota wasn’t able to match the three-pronged attack of Lancia, though, as the consistency of Didier Auriol, Juha Kankkunen, and Miki Biasion brought home the manufacturers’ crown.

Sainz claimed a second drivers’ title in 1992, but it wasn't until 1993, when Toyota brought the more powerful ST185 to play, that the team was finally able to overthrow Lancia and claim WRC glory. Kankunnen also taking the drivers’ championship, completing a double for the team, a feat it would with Auriol a year later.

The GT-Four marked Toyota's arrival in the WRC, beginning a legacy that continues to this day, as the Japanese brand has become the third most successful marque in the sport’s history.

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Subaru Impreza WRC 

You can’t talk about rallying without mentioning the Subaru Impreza. A car that competed in various forms from 1993 to 2008. In all there are ten Imprezas currently scheduled to take on the Forest Rally Stage at this year’s Festival of Speed, and you can guarantee each of them will command your attention. There's simply no getting around it, that blue and florescent yellow livery is unmistakable and truly iconic.

Surely the coolest of the Imprezas is the original ‘555’ model though, that competed from 1993-1996, and claimed two manufacturers’ titles alongside that famous win for Colin McRae in ‘95.>

As a replacement for the Legacy RS, the Impreza was smaller and lighter, far nimbler than its predecessor, and it was instantly competitive in the WRC. Powered by that famous boxer engine, the Impreza sounds as distinct as it looks, and will be utterly unmissable in all of its guises at the Festival of Speed.

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Toyota Yaris Rally 2

We've already mentioned Toyota's legacy in the WRC, but that extends into the lower ranks of Rally2 as well. Built from the chassis of the GR Yaris, the Yaris Rally2 is powered by a relatively modest 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, but don't let that fool you.

This thing is an absolute beast, it makes the most of some of the most cutting-edge technology to deliver truly game-changing levels of performance.

Much like we marvel at the brilliance of modern Formula 1 or the hypercars of the World Endurance Championship, the latest rally machinery is equally impressive to watch, as it makes the tight and twisty Forest Rally Stage look like utter child’s play. Do not miss the opportunity to see these works of art in full flow.

Only Thursday general admission tickets remain, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday tickets now sold out, although a limited number of hospitality packages for all days are still available. Tickets and packages can be purchased from £70.

Make the most of our Bank Holiday Sale! Save 15% on our full collection including our brand-new FOS range this weekend. Enter code GRRMAY15.

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • Festival of Speed

  • 2024 Festival of Speed

  • Rally Car

  • Rally Stage

  • Ferrari

  • Porsche

  • Audi

  • Toyota

  • Subaru

  • 308 GTB

  • 911 SC

  • Quattro S1 E2

  • Celica

  • Impreza

  • Yaris

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