09/28/2021 at 4:36 PM CEST
The 44th edition of the Dakar is already on the horizon and at Audi Sport they are immersed in a true race against time, facing one of the greatest challenges in motorsport with a unique concept. With Carlos Sainz, Stéphane Peterhansel and Mattias Ekström In its ranks, all eyes are on the degree of evolution, development and reliability that the German brand has achieved in record time.
Assembly of the final units with which Audi will compete in the Dakar Rally has begun at Audi Sport in Neuburg an der Donau. So far they have done thousands of kilometers of tests, especially in Spain, but more recently in Morocco and the program from here until the test begins is going to be very busy.
A revolutionary system
The Audi RS Q e-tron incorporates an electric propulsion system with two motor-generator units (MGU) originating from Formula E. While the vehicle is in motion, the high-voltage battery is charged with the help of an energy converter. consisting of another MGU and an efficient TFSI engine derived from the one Audi has used successfully in the DTM.
Andreas Roos, responsible for all the official activities of Audi in competition, confirms the great challenge that the Dakar represents for those from Ingolstadt. “It is a great challenge even for a conventional motor vehicle. With the powertrain that we have developed, the challenge is even greater. The chassis and suspension don’t make a big difference, but we have a lot more components in the car that not only have to be light, reliable and competitive in the extreme conditions of the Dakar, but also have to be perfectly synchronized and work together smoothly & rdquor; .
In record time
“The prototype of the Audi RS Q e-tron was developed in around twelve months & rdquor ;, he pointed out Julius Seebach, Director of Audi Sport GmbH and Head of Motorsport at Audi. The first test, held on June 30, 2021 in Neuburg an der Donau, and the start of the Dakar on January 1, 2022 in Ha’il (Saudi Arabia), are separated by only six months. “It is very little time to prepare such a complex project. I cannot describe it in words: the Audi RS Q e-tron is the most technologically advanced vehicle that Audi Sport has brought to the competition & rdquor ;.
A Dakar vehicle with a conventional powertrain has two main components: the internal combustion engine and the transmission. “In our Audi RS Q e-tron we use an electric motor on the front axle, an electric motor on the rear axle, a high-voltage battery and the power converter, which is made up of another MGU that acts as a generator and from a TFSI engine that comes from the DTM & rdquor ;, explains Roos. “And each of these components, for example, needs a specific cooling system. That means that we not only have one cooling system in the car, but up to six systems in total, including the intercooler and the one for the air conditioning system for the driver and co-driver & rdquor ;.