The Audi RS Q e-tron has been updated ahead of its third outing at the Dakar Rally in January next year. Although the changes between the 2023 and 2024 models are slightly less significant than the tweaks made from 2022 to 2023, Audi notes that a series of important improvements have been made, in particular when it comes to safety.
This year’s Dakar Rally was truly disastrous for Audi with both Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz Sr involved in significant crashes. With this in mind, the racing outfit has set out to ensure the updated RS Q e-tron is even safer. To do this, engineers have updated the springs, dampers, and bump stops to reduce peak vertical acceleration while landing after big jumps.
Additionally, a new foam has been incorporated in the seats to better distribute any forces experienced in a crash. That’s good news for Sainz who suffered spinal injuries after his crash. The new model also includes a larger carbon fiber reinforced plastic crash box at the front end to better absorb hard front impacts.
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Audi Sport adds that in 2022 and 2023, stones were getting caught between the rim bed, brake disc, and upright. For 2024, it has developed new fastening elements for the uprights to ensure stones don’t get stuck. It is also using more robust rims and the new tires from BF Goodrich have stronger sidewalls.
Several weight-saving measures have also been made to offset the added weight of the new tires. There are now smaller brake calipers, a modified rear bonnet, and even a more slender footrest for the co-driver. It has also been able to increase the grunt from the two electric motors from 363 hp (271 kW) to 384 hp (286 kW) thanks to a change in the regulations for January’s event. Rounding out the updates made include improvements designed to make servicing simpler and faster.
“What the RS Q e-tron is fundamentally capable of has been demonstrated by our drivers and co-drivers with six stage victories and 22 other single-day podium results at the Dakar Rally since 2022,” head of Audi Motorsport Rolf Michl said. “Now it’s a matter of showing our performance as steadily as possible so that we can fight for top positions.”