From 2020 onwards, the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX) is planning to race with electric cars. Audi is currently considering a possible commitment but the technological potential of the current Supercars being fielded in 2018 and 2019 has not been fully exploited either. For example, the new Audi S1 EKS RX quattro is superior to its predecessor in almost every area.

For this new season, Audi Sport is literally giving wings to the rallycross team of 2-time DTM Champion and World Rallycross Champion, Mattias Ekstrom. The complex rear wing of the all-wheel drive sportscar is just one of the results of the intensified technical cooperation between Audi’s motorsport department and EKS Audi Sport.

“Last season, we started providing factory support to Mattias Ekstrom’s team in the World RX,” said Head of Audi Motorsport, Dieter Gass. “Now our engineers have been involved in the further development of the car for the first time as well.”

With innovative aerodynamics concepts, Audi was some crucial steps ahead of the competition in recent years with LMP sportscars and in the DTM. This know-how has now been fed into the second generation of the new S1 EKS RX quattro. The new rear wing generates more downforce while concurrently reducing aerodynamic drag. The engineers have optimized the location of the cooling systems with maximum efficiency in mind as well. They are now supplied by air scoops in the roof and in the rear side windows.

Compared with the first-generation S1 EKS RX quattro, the technicians have changed the position of the 2-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. This, in turn, entailed extensive modifications of oil management. This year, for the first time, an anti-lag system is used which maintains the turbocharger’s speed even when the driver lifts, with new software as well.

Maximum engine output has increased to 580 bhp but the development was not directly focused on maximum power output and more on drivability. For this purpose, the engineers have optimized boost pressure in part-load and overrun conditions too. “We have noticeably more engine power than ever before,” said Ekstrom who, following the first test laps with the new engine, climbed out of the cockpit with a broad grin on his face. “Putting the power on the ground is even more important.”

The percentage of full-throttle driving tends to be rather small on the typically short and winding rallycross tracks. At about 40%, it is the largest on the track in Canada. Therefore, the suspension, dampers and traction are of major importance.

“It’s the sum of many small details that account for this progress,” explained Ekstrom. “We’ve improved in all areas and know how much faster our new car is. I’m very happy with the work that has been done and hope it’ll be enough to celebrate victories and finish on podium regularly again. At the same time, we have very strong competitors who haven’t slept either. We’re only going to see where we stand at Barcelona.”

[Chips Yap]

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