Audi Enhances RS Q e-tron for Dakar 2024
In anticipation of its third appearance at the Dakar Rally, Audi has once again upgraded the RS Q e-tron rally prototype, featuring its cutting-edge electric drivetrain equipped with a high-voltage battery and energy converter. The driver crews, including Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger, and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, are set to benefit from numerous improvements in various aspects.
As the rally unfolds in January 2024, Audi aims to showcase the full potential of the RS Q e-tron, building on past successes that include six stage victories and 22 podium results since 2022. Rolf Michl, Head of Audi Motorsport, emphasizes the goal of delivering consistent performance to compete for top positions. Reflecting on previous Dakar Rallies, Audi Sport has identified areas for improvement and established clear priorities for further development, led by the project’s new Technical Director, Dr. Leonardo Pascali.
Safety: Elevating Standards
Addressing safety concerns following accidents at the 2023 Dakar Rally, Audi has focused on reducing peak vertical acceleration during landings after significant jumps. Dr. Pascali highlights adjustments to springs, dampers, and the chassis’s bump stop to better distribute loads over time, ensuring optimal control of the platform. Additional measures include enhancements to the foam in the seats, designed to distribute loads over a more extended period and reduce peak loads. The CFRP crash box at the front end of the chassis now offers increased absorption of energy during frontal impacts, enhancing overall safety.
Reliability: Fine-Tuning Details
While the RS Q e-tron demonstrated reliability in its first Dakar Rally in 2022, the focus on reliability now extends to optimizing details. Previous challenges, such as stones causing damage between the rim bed, brake disc, and upright, have been addressed with new fastening elements for increased clearance. The use of more robust rims and stronger sidewalls in the tires adds durability, contributing to improved overall reliability.
Comfort: Enhancing the Driving Experience
Acknowledging the importance of driver and co-driver well-being, Audi engineers have optimized acoustic shielding and cockpit sealing. A modified front bonnet helps repel mud and water more effectively, keeping the windshield cleaner and enhancing overall comfort for the experienced driving teams.
Performance: Comprehensive Improvements
The pursuit of enhanced competitiveness within regulations prompted a thorough examination of various aspects, from chassis to software and body to the electric drivetrain. Collaboration on shock absorbers and springs resulted in a refined setup, while optimizations in component weight, including the rear bonnet, smaller brake calipers, and the co-driver’s footrest, aim to bring the RS Q e-tron closer to the minimum weight limit of 2,100 kilograms. Regulation changes increase the electric motor’s output to 286 kW as of January 2024, providing Audi with a performance edge.
Maintenance Times: Streamlining Operations
In a bid for efficiency, Audi Sport has simplified daily maintenance tasks during rally events. Practical innovations include modified bolted connections, improved tool holders, optimized filling cap devices, new locking solutions, and a shift to bolted connections instead of glued ones. These improvements contribute to faster and more straightforward servicing, ensuring the team is well-prepared for the challenges of the Dakar Rally.
Rolf Michl, Head of Motorsport, expresses confidence in the team’s creative solutions, stating, “Our engineering team has improved the RS Q e-tron even further with many imaginative solutions. Drivers, co-drivers, mechanics, and engineers will all benefit from these innovations, and we feel well-prepared for the Dakar Rally.” Audi has diligently incorporated these changes throughout the year, conducting thorough testing to guarantee their effectiveness in time for the 2024 Dakar Rally.
Courtesy : https://www.audi-mediacenter.com