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Group C: The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age of Endurance Racing: Lancia

Submitted by on March 16, 2020

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

In the 9th part of our Group C retrospective we take a closer look at Italian constructor Lancia.

In 1982 the Lancia LC1 appeared in the World Sportscar Championship, powered by a tiny 1425 cc straight 4 single turbocharged engine. At 1.5/1.65 bar boost the engine produced between 430 and 460 hp. Lancia used a Dallara spyder chassis fitted with a HewlandTG500 gearbox.

Due to the new Group C regulations the LC1 saw limited action. However fortunately for Lancia, the LC1 was allowed to race in the new Group C class despite the fact that it was built under Group 6 regulations.

As the LC1 was light and agile and didn’t have to comply to Group C fuel consumption regulation, it scored three victories in 1982. Lancia scored overall victories at the Silverstone 1000 km, NĂ¼rburgring 1000 km and finally the 6 hours of Mugello. Although the marque entered two cars in the 1982 Le Mans 24 Hours, both retired with electric problems. In the end Lancia built 4 chassis, 0001, 0002, 0003 and 0004.

For the 1983 World Sports Car Championship Lancia introduced the LC2, designed by Gianpaolo Dallara and Abarth under the direction of Cesare Fioro. Lancia chose a 3.0 liter Ferrari V8, reduced to 2.6 liter and fitted with twin KKK turbochargers to produce around 850 hp.

Between 1983 and 1986 the body of the LC2 slowly evolved. At the 1983 Monza 1000 km, the Lancia LC2 was debuted and surprisingly it managed to claim pole position. Lancia beat the dominant Porsche 956 by nearly a second. However, the Pirelli tyres used that year caused problems and as s result the leading car retired. Besides tyre problems, engine reliability hampered the LC2 throughout 1983.

Fitted with a redesigned suspension and Dunlop tyres, the LC2 scored a podium finish during the opening round at Monza in 1984. Lancia occupied the entire front row during the 1984 Le Mans 24 Hours, from which the Rothmans Porsche factory team was absent. Although Bob Wollek and Alessandro Naninni led the race at half distance, gearbox problems on both Lancias dropped them back.

Ricardo Patrese and Alessandro Nannini finally managed to score a double victory at Kyalami in South Africa.

For the 1985 season the LC2 was further revised running on Michelin tyres. Despite the fact that the LC2 outclassed the dominant Porsche 956 in qualifying the car lacked reliability. Only at the shortened round in Spa, due to the tragic death of Stefan Bellof, Lancia managed to pick up their first victory over the Porsche factory team. After suffering from further reliability problems in 1986 Lancia decided to pull out of the championship.

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