In January 2022, the Dakar Rally, one of the greatest internationally challenging off-road endurance events, will take place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Featuring Audi’s latest innovative prototype, the Audi RS Q e-tron, the race will begin in Ha’il on the 2nd of January and make its way to Riyadh, finishing in Jeddah.
With its complex powertrain concept, the assembly of the rally cars has begun.
The Audi RS Q e-tron has an electric powertrain with two motor-generator units (MGUs) from Formula E. While the vehicle is in motion, the high-voltage battery is charged by an energy converter consisting of the efficient TFSI engine from the DTM and another MGU. The Audi RS Q e-tron is the most sophisticated vehicle in terms of technology that Audi Sport has ever deployed in racing.
According to Andreas Roos, Project Leader for all factory-backed motorsport activities, “The Dakar is extremely challenging – even for a conventionally powered vehicle. With our powertrain concept, the challenge is distinctly greater. The chassis and suspension do not entail major differences, but we have a lot more components in the car that must be not only high performing lightweight and functioning reliably under the extreme conditions of the Dakar. They also have to be attuned to each other perfectly and work together smoothly.”
A conventionally powered Dakar vehicle features two major components: the internal combustion engine and the transmission. “In Audi RS Q e-tron, we have an electric motor at the front axle, an electric motor at the rear axle, the high-voltage battery and the energy converter, consisting of another MGU and the TFSI engine from the DTM,” says Roos. Each of these components requires a dedicated cooling system. That means we have not only one cooling system in the car but as many as six, including the intercooler and air conditioning system for the driver and co-driver.
Audi has succeeded in recruiting three illustrious driver teams for this ambitious project. “It’s no exaggeration to speak of a “dream team,”” said Julius Seebach, the
Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport
. The Audi team features star drivers who have achieved many successes and won multiple Dakar races and World Rally Championship. Bringing their huge expertise, the high-profiled drivers are: Mattias
Ekström, Emil Bergkvist, Lucas Cruz, Carlos Sainz, Edouard Boulanger and the most successful Dakar driver of all time Stéphane Peterhansel.
And according to
Mattias Ekström, the Dakar experience will surely be one of the most exciting adventures of his career.