Audi reveals updated electric Dakar challenger for 2023

Audi has significantly overhauled its Dakar Rally prototype for 2023, with the upgrades aimed at improving efficiency of the powertrain and making the car easier to operate for the crew.

Audi reveals updated electric Dakar challenger for 2023

Christened the Audi RS Q e-tron E2, the name now incorporates the E2 abbreviation that previously featured on the legendary Audi Quattro in its Group B derivation in the 1980s.

The entire body of the vehicle has been redesigned since it made its debut in this year’s Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, with chief designer Axel Loffler stating “not a single body part from its predecessor” has been carried over to the new model.

Several weight-saving measures have been adopted as the original Audi RS Q e-tron was overweight due its incredibly complex hybrid powertrain system, with the German manufacturer admitting that it had to shed several kilos of the car even as the minimum weight has been raised from 2,000kg to 2,100kg.

Insight: How Audi took the Dakar by storm with its hybrid game-changer

Aerodynamics were also a major point of focus, with designers able to reduce the drag by 15% despite having to widen the size of the cockpit as per regulations.

Coming to the powertrain itself, the RS Q e-tron E2 essentially remains a hybrid, with a pair of electric motors supplemented by a DTM-derived engine that is used solely to charge the batteries - rather than power the vehicle directly.

Several improvements have been made to make the powertrain more efficient as well as fix some of the issues that appeared on its debut, including a surge in power that was noted when the wheels made less contact with the ground while jumping or on uneven terrain.

The servo pump, the air-conditioning cooling pump and the fans have also been optimised to save energy usage during stages.

A number of changes have also been made to make it easier for the crew to operate the vehicle. Firstly, flat and easily removable body components have replaced the previous bulky covers for the spare wheels to save time replacing punctured tyres.

Audi RS Q e-tron E2

Audi RS Q e-tron E2

Photo by: Audi Communications Motorsport

Secondly, the control buttons on the centre console have been reshuffled, with a new rotary switch added to allow both the driver and the co-driver to quickly toggle between the four system areas; namely stage, road, error and settings.

Initial running of the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 was completed under the supervision of head of test engineering Arnau Niubo Bosch, with the car now set to travel to Morocco to make its competition debut in Rally du Maroc from 1-6 October.

Audi will have its entire fleet of three cars in Morocco, driven by 14-time Dakar champion Stephane Peterhansel, fellow rally legend Carlos Sainz and two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom.

The updated car will take part in the 2023 Dakar Rally, which begins on New Year’s Day in Saudi Arabia.

“We’ve managed a good debut at the Dakar with the Audi RS Q e-tron and even our first stage victories in a motorsport discipline that is new to us,” says new Audi Sport managing director Rolf Michl, who has replaced Julius Seebach.

“The entire team is working excellently together and pulling in the same direction.

“As is usual at such an early stage, the drivers, co-drivers and technicians quickly agreed on the next development targets. We have summarised the result in a new evolution package – the RS Q e-tron E2.”

shares
comments
Dakar Rally announces longer 14-stage route for 2023
Previous article

Dakar Rally announces longer 14-stage route for 2023

Next article

Audi reveals weight-saving measures for heavy Dakar challenger

Audi reveals weight-saving measures for heavy Dakar challenger
The positive future implications of Audi's creditable Dakar debut Plus

The positive future implications of Audi's creditable Dakar debut

OPINION: Audi has been a disruptive presence on the 2022 Dakar Rally, with its new hybrid RS Q e-tron taking three stage wins so far. Its impressive pace and resilience on one of the world’s toughest tests also bodes well for the Dakar’s future as it seeks to attract new manufacturers

Dakar
Jan 12, 2022
How Prodrive plans to use trial by Dakar to spur it to victory Plus

How Prodrive plans to use trial by Dakar to spur it to victory

Having tasted plenty of success in the World Rally Championship in the past, Prodrive took its off-road excursions to a new level with its first Dakar Rally entry this year. Now well-versed in the challenges that the famous rally-raid event possesses, Prodrive can learn from those lessons for next year's tilt at Dakar honours

Dakar
Jun 2, 2021
Why Loeb has joined forces with an old enemy for Dakar Plus

Why Loeb has joined forces with an old enemy for Dakar

The nine-time World Rally champion is heading to the Dakar Rally with an all-new project, and is joining up with the team he often fought against in the WRC - Prodrive - in his quest to finally add the most famed rally raid of them all to his bulging CV

Dakar
Dec 4, 2020
Richards on Prodrive's new Dakar challenge Plus

Richards on Prodrive's new Dakar challenge

With a stunning success record in motorsport, Prodrive is targeting a new crown by entering the 2021 Dakar Rally. David Richards provides an update on the programme, how COVID has slowed its plans and its options on who sits behind the wheel of its new car

Dakar
Jul 16, 2020
Why Alonso is already exceeding expectations in Dakar bid Plus

Why Alonso is already exceeding expectations in Dakar bid

How significant was Fernando Alonso's first cross-country rallying podium on a Saudi Arabian event last weekend? Very. The next leg of his post-F1 quest for versatile glory is going very well so far...

Dakar
Nov 12, 2019
What Alonso learned from his best Dakar test yet Plus

What Alonso learned from his best Dakar test yet

Double Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso took on one of his biggest challenges yet in the five-day Dakar warm-up event, Rally Morocco. Alonso gives his thoughts on his progress in a "bittersweet" event, and whether he will contest the Dakar

Dakar
Oct 10, 2019
Why Alonso must heed Loeb's Dakar failures Plus

Why Alonso must heed Loeb's Dakar failures

Fernando Alonso is edging closer to a Dakar debut, but he should take heed of the lessons rallying legend Sebastien Loeb has learned through several near-misses, despite his promising performances at the event

Dakar
Aug 22, 2019
Why Loeb cannot be allowed to give up on Dakar Plus

Why Loeb cannot be allowed to give up on Dakar

Sebastien Loeb has been the fastest man on the Dakar Rally since he first appeared on the legendary event, but he's still not won it after four dramatic attempts. That story cannot end here

Dakar
Jan 20, 2019