Audi Sport will its extensive knowledge from Le Mans, Formula E and DTM for the preparation of its Dakar challenger.
Following its decision to move from DTM and Formula E, Audi announced its intention to make a return in WEC under the LMDh programme in 2021 and make its Dakar debut in 2022 – the latter being an electric machinery for the grueling off-road event.
The idea to get into Dakar is due to its liberties with car development, which is restricted in other forms of competitions like Formula E and DTM. The work on the off-road car has already begun, as it is using its knowledge from other championships.
Revealing further details of its Dakar challengers, Audi informed that they are to use the Formula E motor generator unit, in addition to the high-voltage battery. The first prototype is being built at Audi Sport in Neuburg an der Donau.
Audi is scheduled to roll it out at the end of June, followed by a world’s first look in July. Post that, there will be intensive test run until January 2022 when it makes its Dakar debut with an electric machinery. “With the Dakar project, we at Audi remain true to our philosophy of using new technologies in motorsport for the first time that are groundbreaking for future road cars,” said Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for all motorsport activities of Audi.
“In our rally history, for example, this was the quattro drivetrain, and now we will test components for future electric drivetrains under extreme conditions at the Dakar Rally. At the same time, we offer exciting customer and fan experiences.”
At the same time, Andreas Roos, stated: “The Dakar project is a huge challenge for the entire team. We have a tight schedule to implement our innovative concept. We are the first car manufacturer to tackle the Dakar Rally with an electric drivetrain. Everyone in the team is working flatout so that we are ready to go in time for the 2022 Dakar.
“We will have one MGU on the front axle and one on the rear axle. A third MGU serves as a generator to charge the high-voltage battery while driving. Of course, we have to make modifications, because the desert has different challenges than in the cities where we are currently racing in Formula E: jumps, sand, the very long stages.
“But we can basically build on the expertise from Formula E and also from our Le Mans prototypes with the e-tron quattro. This engine is incredibly efficient and state of the art in terms of weight and consumption. The important thing is: our drivetrain is fully electric. The TFSI engine is only used to charge the batteries on the special stages.
“The battery has to be charged while driving, as there are currently no other options to do so in the desert.” Audi plans to run fully electric on all the liaison stages.” Audi is taking help from Q Motorsport team, who will be running the operation of the Dakar team, as they plan to reveal its driver line-up by May.
Here’s initial news of Audi planning a Dakar move