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Audi to compete in Dakar Rally in 2022 with series-hybrid electric prototype; factory team leaving Formula E

Audi will be competing in the famous Dakar Rally for the first time in 2022 with an innovative prototype. The alternative drive concept combines an electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and a highly efficient energy converter for the first time. Cross-country rallying will be the spearhead of the factory motorsport commitment in the future.

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A multifaceted commitment to motorsport is and will remain an integral part of Audi’s strategy. We want to continue demonstrating the brand’s slogan ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ in international top-level motorsport in the future and develop innovative technologies for our road cars. The toughest rally in the world is the perfect stage for this.

— Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management and Board of Management Member for Technical Development and Product Lines at AUDI AG

With the use of an alternative drive concept in the Dakar Rally, Audi is now facing up to the most extreme conditions. The vehicle will be driven by a powerful electric drivetrain. The energy required for this comes from a high-voltage battery, which can be charged as required while driving via an energy converter in the form of a highly efficient TFSI engine.

The aim is to permanently improve the performance of the electric drivetrain and the battery in the years to come. The experience gained in this process should then be incorporated into the further development of future electrified production models.

Audi is the first car manufacturer that has committed to develop a viable alternative drive concept for the Dakar Rally, making it a pioneer in motorsport once again. In 2012, Audi achieved the first victory of a hybrid racing car in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro remained unbeaten in the world’s most important endurance race three times in a row.

Since 2014, Audi has also been successful in fully-electric racing with Formula E. First in a supporting role for the team of its longstanding partner ABT Sportsline, and from 2017 with full factory involvement. After six years, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team is the most successful entry in the history of Formula E with a total of 43 podium finishes, including twelve victories. Special highlights include winning the drivers’ title in 2017 and the teams’ title in the first season on a factory level in 2018.

The Audi e-tron is a bestseller in many markets. With the RS e-tron GT, Audi will soon bring its sporty spearhead onto the road. And as early as 2025, around 40% of sales are expected to be achieved with purely-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

This is why we are taking the next step in electrified motorsport by facing the most extreme conditions. The many technical freedoms offered by the Dakar Rally provide a perfect test laboratory for us in this respect.

—Markus Duesmann

The Dakar Rally will replace Audi’s factory involvement in Formula E, which will no longer be continued in the form of an Audi factory team after the 2021 season. The use of the newly developed Audi powertrain by customer teams will remain possible beyond next year.

Customer racing remains the second major pillar in AUDI AG’s future motorsport program. Audi Sport customer racing will continue to offer its customers a comprehensive model portfolio, as well as intensive service for worldwide racing. In addition, the program includes competing with the Audi R8 LMS in major endurance races like the Nürburgring 24 Hours and in international racing series such as the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

In addition, we are evaluating other possible fields of activity for us in international motorsport. In doing so, we have our customers’ wishes in mind as much as the company’s future strategy, which is clearly focused on electrification and carbon-neutral mobility. This is why we are intensively preparing to enter the new sports prototype category LMDh with its highlight races, the Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours. The most important message for our fans is that motorsport will continue to play an important role at Audi.

—Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH

From December 1, 2020, Julius Seebach will assume responsibility for the company’s international motorsport activities in addition to his function as Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. Dieter Gass, who has held management positions at Audi Sport for almost ten years and was jointly responsible for the sporting success as Head of Audi Motorsport from 2017 to 2020, will devote himself to new tasks in the future, following the successful conclusion of the factory involvement in the DTM.

Comments

gryf

Cross-country rallying will be the spearhead of the factory motorsport commitment in the future.
So Audi is dropping out of Formula E and DTM to focus on the Dakar Rally and LeMans. Audi does know a lot about both of these motorsports.
OK so let's speculate a bit about what this Dakar Rally car will look like and the electric powertrain.
First, let's hope it looks like the 2019 Audi AI:TRAIL Quattro concept. There are some pictures here: https://www.audi-mediacenter.com/en/audi-aitrail-quattro-2019-1199. Definitely watch the great videos, too.
What about the powertrain?
The vehicle will be driven by a powerful electric drivetrain. The energy required for this comes from a high-voltage battery, which can be charged as required while driving via an energy converter in the form of a highly efficient TFSI engine.
Probably a series hybrid Range Extender based on the DTM EA888 TFSi 670hp 2.0L Engine, which is as efficient as a diesel. Of course, the 2.0L engine would be perfect for LeMans. For Dakar they can use a smaller engine like the 3 cylinder1.0L Audi A1 TFSi engine. Also, it could use the YASA P400 motor-generator which has an axial length of just 110mm and weighs only 27k for up to 100kW continuous generation.
Can't wait to see how this develops.

gryf

Forgot comments on the electric motor and battery.
Of course, it will use the Audi MGU05 motor from the Audi e-tron FE07 Formula E car. The MGU/inverter weighs only 35 kg and produces 250 kW power. It will need 2 engines for AWD. Also, it could use the Williams Advanced Engineering’s Adaptive Multi-Chem battery with a total stored energy of 60kWh, with a core battery mass of 345kg, can provide over 500 kW of power(https://www.wae.com/what-we-do/case-studies/multi-chem).

gryf

SPEC UPDATE:
500 kW not needed! The Dakar winning Peugeot 3008 DKR has 250 kW. So the powertrain is the Audi e-Tron FE07 Formula E (battery and motor) with the Range Extender.
BTW GCK Motorsport plans to run a BEV version of the 3008 DKR (150 kWh battery) in 2022 called the GCK e-Blast 1. Also plans to develop an H2 FCEV version for 2023.

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