Audi reveals weight-saving measures for heavy Dakar challenger

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Audi grew to become the primary main producer to embrace Dakar’s new T1U rules for electrical and hybrid automobiles earlier this 12 months when it entered a trio of RS Q e-trons for Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekstrom.

Regardless of the size of problem concerned, Audi’s maiden outing the Saudi Arabia-based rally-raid was largely a hit, yielding 4 stage wins and a spot inside the general prime 10.

Nonetheless, the automotive it had developed in a report time was not with out its shortcomings, and was notably greater than 200kg heavier than the minimal weight requirement of 2000kg.

This was largely as a result of a fancy powertrain system, which included two electrical motors, a petroleum engine linked to an power converter, and a battery pack.

The German producer acknowledged the implications a heavy automotive has on driveability and agility and made it a key space of focus whereas growing the up to date Audi RS Q e-tron E2 mannequin for 2023.

This has helped carry the automotive nearer to the up to date minimal weight restrict of 2100kg and therefore extra aggressive towards its lighter petrol-powered rivals from Toyota and Prodrive.

Talking after the launch of Audi’s overhauled Dakar contender, mission supervisor Benedikt Brunninger revealed that shaving weight off the automotive grew to become the marque’s precedence instantly after it wrapped up its maiden outing in Dakar in January.

“The foremost [weight saving] factor was carried out by the bodywork,” he defined. “We additionally appeared into the automotive with each small level the place we are able to.

“We had an excel sheet with 12 or 13 pages the place we had all of the components written right down to the place we might achieve some grams there, some grams right here.

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“However from the surface the principle weight reduction is coming from the bodywork. So [that includes] the discount of double surfaces we had on the final automotive.

“The final automotive was additionally primarily influenced by our design crew and this 12 months we stated we’d like consequently to cut back the burden. Subsequently, we decreased all double surfaces and in addition appeared into the fabric itself of the components.

“There are additionally totally different carbon fibre supplies that you need to use and as we achieve a number of knowledge and expertise from the primary Dakar we knew the place the carbon components must be inflexible and the place they aren’t, so we might use totally different supplies to decrease the burden of every half there.”

Audi RS Q e-tron E2

Picture by: Audi Communications Motorsport

Fourteen-time Dakar winner Peterhansel examined the overhauled Audi RS Q e-tron E2 in August and can full additional working within the Moroccan desert this month forward of its competitors debut in Rallye du Maroc in October.

The French driver stated Audi goes in a “good course” with the event of its rally-raid automotive and is not preventing towards time to be race-ready, as was the case final 12 months.

“The competitors by no means stops, which implies after the Dakar we had an extended assembly with the group, with the engineers, and we determined to change a bit bit some small issues on the automotive,” stated Peterhansel.

“However we maintain the idea of our powertrain, our electrical engine, our power converter, [which] is mostly a good one. So we determined to stroll on the burden, to have the automotive a bit lighter, we determined to stroll on the digital aspect, on the reliability positive, as a result of for me reliability is a key level of Rally Dakar.

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“If you’re first it is actually good, however in the event you cease for a technical drawback I am positive it would by no means be potential to win.

“Sure, we did some exams final month in Spain and we’re actually in a superb course.

“Additionally, this 12 months it is extra snug than final 12 months regarding the timing as a result of final 12 months all the pieces was prepared on the final minute. However now it is actually the time to develop the automotive, to take the time to have the perfect set-up with the shock absorber with all the pieces.”

New head of Audi Sport Rolf Michl defined that it has refined all its processes since January’s Dakar Rally to spice up its probabilities for 2023, whereas the automotive itself is superior in each manner than its predecessor thanks to higher aerodynamics and improved powertrain effectivity.

“Final 12 months we have been a bit too heavy and this 12 months undoubtedly the efficiency enchancment comes out of clear and important lack of weight, decrease centre of gravity and the discount of drag, together with enhanced energy management and the brand new working methods,” stated Michl.

“So the foremost factor I realized and in addition from the group was to enhance the entire system, so the organisational processes, the interplay with [partner] Q Motorsport GmbH. And in addition trying very a lot into the main points, the health of the entire group and the help that drivers have within the automotive.

“We appeared in each interface within the group, with Q Motorsport, with the drivers, with the engineers and the result’s a considerably optimised complete system as a result of attaining the rostrum or successful the Dakar, it isn’t solely the automotive.

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“It is a vital half, but additionally the drivers and the group work will play a significant position and there I believe we now have carried out some important enhancements out of the learnings from our first Dakar we achieved.”

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