When Audi enters a new form of motorsport, it pulls out all of the stops. Starting with next January’s Dakar rally, the four-rings manufacturer will enter three of these brand new RS Q e-tron machines, one each for Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, and Mattias Ekström. That’s a hell of a lineup.
Each of the cars will be powered by a pair of Audi Formula E motors producing a combined 670-ish horsepower. There is a 50 kWh battery pack under the skin providing constant power to those twin motors. The batteries themselves are kept charged by an “energy converter” which is a clever rebranding of the company’s former DTM 2-liter turbocharged engine. The engine doesn’t actually connect to the wheels in any way, but will serve as a big alternator to keep the batteries topped up during the grueling desert rally raid.
Yeah, this is going to be cool. When a company can salvage investment in a soon-to-be defunct FE team and a definitely shitcanned DTM chassis, and spin it into a Dakar effort, I’m supportive. You have to use all of the parts of the buffalo, right?
“This project’s schedule is extremely packed and challenging,” says Andreas Roos, head honcho of Audi’s Dakar project. “Less than twelve months have passed since the project officially started. We had to begin the development while the regulations for alternatively-powered vehicles had not even been finalized yet. And all of the development took place during the Corona pandemic.”
Just look how flippin’ cool this car is. There is a chance that this bright-orange accented dirt-flinging monster will become the international icon of off-road motorsport that the Quattro once was. In order for that to happen, Audi will have to first win. But for now, it looks cool as hell. Well done.