Audi has set further important course on the way to the announced debut in the Dakar Rally in January 2022. The design of the prototype for the rally has been largely completed and the first test drives with the hybrid race car are scheduled for the middle of the year.
For the rally program, the Ingolstadt-based company will withdraw from Formula E with its factory team at the end of 2021. Instead of inner-city circuits, Audi intends to face the extreme conditions of the "world's toughest rally" from 2022 onwards. The "innovative prototype" for the Dakar Rally is an electric drive with range extender. In November, Audi justified the change of strategy in motorsport among other things with the "many technical freedoms" of the Dakar Rally. At the time, it was said that the rally was to be used as a test laboratory for the development of production technologies.
In a press release, Audi now provides an update on the status of the rally preparations. Andreas Roos, who was most recently responsible for the DTM program at Audi Sport, has taken over the project management for the company's factory motorsport commitments. And: The prototype uses the motor generator unit (MGU) from the current Formula E car, which was newly developed by Audi for the 2021 season. It weighs less than 35 kilograms - with more than 250 kW of power.
In the vehicle for the Dakar Rally, the MGU will be installed three times: "We'll 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," says Roos. Of course, modifications will have to be made because the desert poses different challenges than the cities in which the team is currently racing in Formula E: "Jumps, sand, the very long stages. But basically, we can build on the know-how from Formula E and also from our Le Mans races with the e-tron quattro."