Video: Firebreathing Ford RS500 Can’t Put the Power Down

Big turbo power isn’t always the most effective way toward getting up a hillclimb quickly, but it puts a smile on the observer’s face. Though the original RS500 was already a ludicrous machine, Karl Heinz Binder seems to have found it a little soft for his tastes.

Though the slicks in the rear measure 13" wide, they still struggle to put down that mule kick of turbo power.

Though the slicks in the rear measure 13″ wide, they still struggle to put down the 600-odd horsepower.

Though still fundamentally a road car, the RS500 racing car, tuned by Eggenberger, was a far cry from the road-going Sierra Cosworth. The chassis was similar to the one found in the road-going variant, though seam-welded for a little extra rigidity, to help deliver the  power—which arrived in one big shove.

With the original 2.0-liter displacement, the Cosworth YBD motor would only make 90 horsepower by 3,500 rpm. However, at around 3,900 rpm, it delivered the whole enchilada. Binder’s enlarged the motor to 2.5 liters, but it still struggles to deliver that power in a reasonably progressive fashion. With a massive T31/T04 turbocharger supplying 29 pounds of boost, the Group A cars made a cool 500 ponies, though this crazier example sniffs at such puny power outputs.

Wisely, Karl Heinz Binder saw the sense in fitting wider wheels and tires. The fronts wear a tire 10″ wide, whereas the rears, in vain hopes of transferring the power neatly to the pavement, employ a 13″ tire. With 600 horsepower and 516 lb/ft of torque vaporizing rubber, and a leafblower used as a the side-exit exhaust, this is the automotive equivalent of the Tazmanian Devil. It might be slow, but it makes you feel giddy like a teenager seeing it hanging on the lock stops.

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About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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