Audi RS Q e-tron E2 Off-Road Racer Is Much Lighter Than Before

Off-Road / Comments

Dakar dominance is within Audi's grasp.

Audi was the first manufacturer to use the Dakar Rally's T1U regulations to create a hybrid off-road racer. While the wheels are powered solely by electricity as they are in the production e-tron, the battery pack uses a generator to supply constant power. That generator is a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

As we all know by now, EVs are heavy. The RS Q e-tron, which competed in its maiden Dakar earlier this year, weighed around 4,850 pounds, which is roughly 440 lbs heavier than the minimum permissible weight. Even with this significant weight penalty, Audi scored four stage wins, and Mattias Ekstrom finished ninth overall. Not bad for a (primarily electric) buggy that was developed in record time. A prototype was teased late in 2020, an official reveal took place in July 2021, and the off-roader lined up on the starting grid in January 2022.


The 2022 Dakar Rally provided Audi with all the information it needed to reduce the weight to make the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 more competitive against ICE rivals like Toyota Gazoo Racing's Hilux and the X-Raid Minis. After the E2 evolution was unveiled last week, spoke to the team's project manager, Benedikt Brunninger.

"The major [weight saving] was done by the bodywork," said Brunninger. "We also looked into the car [at] every small point we can. We had an excel sheet with 12 or 13 pages where we had all the parts written down to where we could gain some grams there, some grams here."


The primary source of the weight loss was body panels, including dropping several double carbon fiber surfaces used last year. According to Brunninger, it gained a lot of data and experience from its first Dakar Rally, which directly impacted the new car. "We knew where the carbon parts need to be rigid and where they are not, so we could use different materials to lower the weight of each part."

Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, and Mattias Ekstrom are all returning as drivers, and Peterhansel was the first to have a go in the upgraded car in Spain.

"The competition never stops, which means after the Dakar, we had a long meeting with the team, with the engineers, and we decided to modify some small things on the car," said Peterhansel. "Also, this year it's more comfortable than last year concerning the timing because everything was only ready at the last minute."


The Dakar Rally does not have a big following in the USA, which is a pity. Americans are huge fans of off-roading, and the Dakar is like the King of Hammers and the Baja 1000 rolled into one ultimate off-road event. It finally agreed to team up with the FIA to make Dakar more appealing to international audiences. The Dakar is now officially the first round of the FIA World Rally Raid Championship, though it is still very much an event all by itself. It's the off-road version of Le Mans. Le Mans is part of an endurance series, but it's mostly referred to as a standalone event.

The 2023 Dakar Rally kicks off on 31 December, 2022 and will run to 15 January, 2023. For the fourth time in a row, the event will be based in Saudi Arabia on 70% new tracks.

Source Credits:

Join The Discussion



Related Cars

To Top