Audi RS Q e-tron 2024
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Audi RS Q e-tron 2024 : an innovative prototype with many details
Audi RS Q e-tron 2024: an innovative prototype with many details
- Numerous improvements in five major areas
- A prototype that is easier to handle, even more reliable and safer
- Careful preparation for the 2024 Dakar Rally
Audi is once again improving the Audi RS Q e-tron prototype: Ahead of its third participation in the Dakar Rally, the rally prototype equipped with its pioneering electric powertrain, high-voltage battery and energy converter receives innovations in many areas. The Audi driver crews Mattias Ekström / Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger and Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz benefit from numerous improvements for their participation in the Dakar in January 2024. The new settings make the Audi RS Q e-tron safer, more reliable, more comfortable and a little lighter, while reducing maintenance times for the team.
In January 2024, Audi will tackle the world’s toughest desert rally for the third time with its low-emission vehicle. “What the Audi RS Q e-tron is fundamentally capable of has been demonstrated by our drivers and co-drivers in the six stage victories and 22 further podiums in one day at the Dakar Rally since 2022,” said Rolf Michl, Managing Director. ‘Audi Motorsport. “Now it’s about demonstrating our performance as consistently as possible so that we can fight for the top places. » Audi Sport analyzed previous releases, identified weak points and set clear priorities for further development. Since the beginning of the summer, Dr. Leonardo Pascali, the new technical director of the project, has focused on five key topics with his development team.
Safety: continue to improve to the maximum level
The accidents of Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz during the 2023 Dakar Rally have prompted Audi to further improve safety. “Our goal was to reduce peak vertical acceleration during landings after large jumps,” explains Dr. Leonardo Pascali. By working with the springs, shock absorbers and bumper in the chassis, the engineers better distributed part of the load over time. They thus allow optimal control of the platform, so important for the overall performance of the car. A second contributing factor comes from the foam in the seats. They make it possible to distribute the loads on the driver and co-driver over a longer period and thus reduce load peaks. The developers particularly focused on the stiffness of the materials and the geometries of the seat foam, also taking into account the influence of the cockpit temperature on the stiffness of the foam.
Protecting the occupants after a hard frontal landing of the vehicle, such as Carlos Sainz’s second accident at the 2023 Dakar Rally, which ended with the car overturning, was also on the minds of those responsible. The CFRP protection box at the front of the chassis structure is now longer, without compromising the angle of attack, so important in off-road rallying. It now absorbs the energy generated during such accidents better than before.
Reliability: clever details for the big picture
The Audi RS Q e-tron is a very reliable racing car, even in the most difficult conditions: all 3 cars crossed the finish line of their first Dakar Rally in 2022. The fact that two of the three cars n The failure to finish in 2023 was not due to technical problems, but to accidents. As the complex powertrain technology is fundamentally mature, Audi Sport can focus on the details in terms of reliability. Previously, the sharpened stones got stuck between the rim tape, the brake disc and the upright. In some cases they have caused considerable damage and required tedious wheel changes on more than one occasion. New upright fasteners allow for greater clearance so stones are ejected more easily. At the same time, Audi Sport now uses more robust rims. Stronger sidewalls also make the new generation of tires, from control tire supplier BF Goodrich, less vulnerable
Comfort: better sealing for greater concentration
Audi relies on particularly experienced, well-coordinated and efficient drivers and co-drivers. To facilitate their arduous work, the engineers optimized the acoustic shielding, as well as the waterproofing of the cockpit. A modified front hood now repels mud and water better, helping the windshield stay cleaner.
Performance: ideas in many areas
From the chassis to the software, from the body to the electric drivetrain: the engineers looked at different aspects to make the Audi RS Q e-tron even more competitive within the framework of the regulations. Work on the shock absorbers and springs allowed the team to find a perfected setting. To get even closer to the minimum weight of 2,100 kilograms, while the weight of the new, more robust tires increases, various components have been optimized in terms of weight. This applies to the rear cowl, as well as the smaller brake calipers, but also to the footrest for the co-driver.
The regulations also slightly change the balance between Audi’s T1U model and its opponents in the T1 category in terms of weight/power ratio: the 263 kW maximum power of the electric motors at the start of the 2023 season (including the coefficient efficiency) transformed into a value of 271 kW during the Dakar Rally, following a change in regulations. From January 2024, this figure will increase to 286 kW. At the same time, the regulation increases the weight of the opponents’ T1 models from 10 to 2,010 kilograms.
Maintenance time: shorter work, better result
In its search for improvements, the Audi Sport development team also analyzed the daily maintenance time during each rally stage. Thanks to many practical ideas in this area, several steps have been simplified. For example, modified bolted assemblies, improved tool holders, filler plug devices optimized for operating fluids, new locking solutions for body parts, and bolted instead of glued assemblies contribute to more maintenance. simpler and faster.
“Our engineering team has further improved the Audi RS Q e-tron with numerous creative solutions,” says Rolf Michl, Head of Motorsport. “Pilots and co-drivers, as well as all mechanics and engineers, benefit from these imaginative ideas. We believe we are prepared for the Dakar Rally in the best possible way. »
Since the middle of the year, Audi has successively integrated the changes and started testing them, ensuring the integration of all innovations in time for the 2024 Dakar Rally.