Audi’s next-gen desert racer offers wider body, electric power

We very recently reported about Audi’s decision to enter Formula 1 as an engine supplier in coming seasons, which wasn’t the last news about motorsport innovation coming from the quad-rings corps. There’s more, in the form of the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 Rally Car, to use its full name, an electrified dune skimmer designed for some very punishing events, such as the 2023 Dakar Rally, where this latest competition Audi will be in the field. Audi says the looks are intended, somehow, to evoke a true Audi immortal, the ur-quattro that sliced its way through the rally ranks beginning in the late 1970s with all-wheel drive. What do you think?

Practical considerations abound: The E2’s composite body is lighter, wider and more aerodynamic than its predecessor’s, with aero considerations proving to be critical on long, high-speed runs through the bush. The EV propulsion system used here is something of a hybrid, through which an energy converter uses a small ICE linked to a generator, augmented by a battery pack and a pair of high-voltage drive motors, one at either end of the vehicle. One important consideration in this branch of motorsport is changing tires under inhospitable conditions in the middle of nowhere, a process promised to be eased via the use of removable body panels that conceal spare tires, plus new 10-spoke Rotiform wheels that are a lot more grip-friendly for rally crews looking to make a rapid change.

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