Audi to field ‘Dream Team’ at the 2022 Dakar Rally
Audi has signed three of the most illustrious driver teams for the 2022 Dakar Rally; Peterhansel, Sainz and Ekstrom are on board
The Dream Team is here. No, I’m not talking about the Olympic-winning American basketball team from the nineties. I’m talking about Audi’s new star-studded Dakar line-up that includes some of the greatest drivers the world has ever seen. The drivers will pilot the new Audi hybrid prototype that has been under development for a while now.
Folks at Audi have managed to lure in motorsport greats like Edouard Boulanger, Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, Lucas Cruz, Mattias Ekstrom and Emil Bergkvist to create what’s rightfully called the Dream Team. The drivers aren’t young per se, but they bring with them years of experience in various forms of motorsport. 55-year-old Stephane Peterhansel has won the Dakar Rally record 14-times, earning the title of Mr Dakar. Carlos Sainz senior meanwhile has three Dakar and two World Rally titles under his belt. Mattias Ekstrom is the most dynamic of this group, having won DTM twice, World Rallycross and Swedish Touring Car championships once each in addition to successful stints at the WRC and NASCAR.
Nothing is expected to be easy though for Audi and its championship-pedigree drivers. Audi will be entering the 2022 Dakar Rally with an electrified prototype, something no one has ever attempted before at the historic rally. The Dream Team will pilot a car that packs some ground breaking technology. The prototype will use two Motor Generator Units (MGU) from Audi’s current Formula E car on the front and the rear axles; a third MGU will be used to charge the battery while driving. Another battery charging source will be the 2-litre, 4-cylinder TFSI engine from the Audi RS 5 DTM. This is known to be an extremely efficient turbocharged engine in terms of weight and consumption. According to Audi, the engine will be used to reload the battery only, and not to drive the wheels.
Audi has had success with electrified powertrains in motorsport previously as well. The Audi R18 E-tron Quattro has won the FIA World Endurance Championship three times in a row and now the electrified Audi in Dakar heralds a new era for the brand in the world of motorsport. There's also a strong possibility that other contenders will also follow Audi’s footsteps in the coming years by introducing cleaner electrified drivetrains.