All the motorsport derivatives were based on the Turbo 1. The factory pushed the engine output up to 180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp) for the Critérium des Cévennes, 210 PS (154 kW; 207 hp) for the Tour de Corse, and by 1984 as much as 350 PS (257 kW; 345 hp) in the R5 Maxi Turbo.
Driven by Jean Ragotti in 1981, the 5 Turbo won the Monte Carlo Rally on its first outing in the World Rally Championship. The 2WD R5 turbo soon faced the competition of new Group B four-wheel drive cars that proved faster on dirt.
In 2004, Sports Car Internation named the R5 Turbo number nine on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.