To me it's just common sense. Having all 4 wheels power you, regardless of the application (straight line or curves) allows an overall greater contact patch for the driven wheels. Sure there is a trade off with weight and a bit of a loss of adhesion due to dual functionality of the front wheels both driving and turning, but in this day and age of computer controlled everything, this is more than offset.
Point of fact...AWD rally car vs RWD rally car. Same power levels, suspension, driver, etc. Which will win?
Same holds for every other race sport (with the obvious exception for high speed runs like at Bonneville, and even then it has it's points).