Home Velocity Audi Sport takes its e-talents to Dakar

Audi Sport takes its e-talents to Dakar


FOLLOWING its official retirement from the Formula E World Championship series with a win in the Berlin season finale. Audi Sport, the high-performance division of Audi AG, is now looking to bring its expertise in electrified vehicles to the Dakar Rally. In a release, the brand said it is set to make its debut in the race series in January 2022.

“Audi was the first German car manufacturer to make a factory commitment to Formula E,” said Audi Sport GmbH Managing Director Julius Seebach, who’s responsible for motorsports programs at Audi. “Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is the most successful team in Formula E and was a pioneer in this racing series. Now, one of the biggest challenges there is in motorsports awaits us — the Dakar Rally.”

The company said that “important elements of the successful Formula E project live on in the Audi RS Q e-tron, the company’s contender in the legendary cross-country rally.” The 250kW motor-generator unit (MGU) found in Audi’s Formula E car (the e-tron FE07) will make an appearance in the Dakar entry — with one MGU mounted on the front axle and another on the rear axle. These MGUs, each weighing less than 35 kilograms, will provide a Quattro performance while achieving an efficiency rating of 97%. A third MGU will be paired with a highly efficient Audi TFSI internal-combustion engine, and functions as an energy converter that recharges the car’s high-voltage battery on the go.

At Dakar, Audi Sport will feature the pairings of Stephane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, and Mattias Ekstrom and Emil Bergkvist. The brand’s return to rallying with an electric vehicle comes around full circle as the Audi Quattro revolutionized the sport with all-wheel drive. Today, Audi’s permanent all-wheel drive quattro is standard in many of its production models, and even comes in electric form in the all-electric e-tron vehicles. The experience gained in Dakar will be incorporated into the development of Audi’s electric-powered production models.

Audi Sport bids farewell to Formula E with an impressive record as the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team emerges as most successful in the series. In 84 races, the team amassed 1,380 points, 14 victories, and 47 podium finishes while works driver Lucas di Grassi won the drivers’ title in the 2016/2017 season. In its first season as a factory team, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler clinched the teams’ title during the 2017/2018 season.

During the team’s Formula E 2021 season finale in Berlin, written on the halo system of the two Audi e-tron FE07 cars driven by Mr. Di Grassi and Rene Rast was: “Thank you Formula E, it’s been electrifying!” The first world championship for electric racing cars started on Sept. 13, 2014 in Beijing, China, with a victory from Mr. Di Grassi.