Audi is gearing up for the 2024 Dakar Rally with significant updates to its RS Q e-tron, focusing on enhanced safety features and increased power. Following a challenging year at the rally with notable crashes involving drivers Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz Sr, Audi has taken constructive steps to boost both the safety and performance of this formidable racing vehicle.
Safety Upgrades: A Priority
In response to the crashes at this year’s Dakar Rally, Audi has prioritized safety enhancements for the RS Q e-tron. Engineers have revised the vehicle's suspension system, including springs, dampers, and bump stops, to lessen the impact of hard landings.
A newly designed foam in the seats now better distributes forces experienced during a crash, a welcome improvement, particularly for drivers like Sainz who suffered spinal injuries. Furthermore, the addition of a larger carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic crash box at the front end aims to improve impact absorption in frontal collisions.
Preventing Stone Damage and Improving Durability
Audi Sport identified that stones caught between the rim bed, brake disc, and upright were a recurring issue in previous models.
The 2024 version features new fastening elements for the uprights to prevent such incidents, accompanied by more robust rims. Tires from BF Goodrich with stronger sidewalls have also been introduced, enhancing the vehicle's overall resilience.
Weight-Saving Measures and Increased Power
To compensate for the added weight of the new tires, Audi has implemented several weight-saving measures. These include smaller brake calipers, a modified rear bonnet, and a slimmer footrest for the co-driver.
Excitingly, regulatory changes have allowed Audi to boost the power of the two electric motors from 363 hp (271 kW) to 384 hp (286 kW), promising improved performance in the upcoming rally.
Efficiency in Servicing
Besides performance upgrades, improvements have been made to facilitate quicker and simpler servicing. These adjustments are crucial for maintaining the vehicle's condition throughout the demanding stages of the Dakar Rally.
Audi's Commitment to Excellence
Rolf Michl, head of Audi Motorsport, highlights the RS Q e-tron's potential, demonstrated by its impressive track record of six stage victories and 22 single-day podium results since its debut. With these latest upgrades, Audi is poised to maintain its competitive edge and vie for top positions in the upcoming Dakar Rally.