We’re all still adjusting to the new reality of electrified cars. And that doesn’t just include people who drive on the street, but also rally driver/social media stunt driver Ken Block, who recently jumped behind the wheel of Audi’s range-extended electric race car, the off-roading beast that is the RS Q e-tron.
It was all done over in the Austrian Alps in Zell Am See, the location of the annual GP Ice Race. And while KB just uploaded the stunt to YouTube, the action took place back in January, with Audi having shipped the EV racer to the winter wonderland straight from the 2022 Dakar Race—in spite of making its debut at the event, the machine managed to win one stage in the hands of Mattias Ekstrom, while taking the #9 position overall.
Ekstrom, who is an FIA World Rallycross champion, two-time DTM champion and won the Race of Champions three times, did 8,100 km (5,030 miles) for the Rally and just as much preparing for it, so he knows a thing or two about operating the electric beast. And with stages being up to 500 miles long, having to cover such a long course in the middle of the desert explains why the electrically-propelled vehicle comes with an internal combustion engine to recharge the battery (more on this below).
As such, he was the one who gave Block a quick training on how to operate the electric racecar, which is quite different to the analog heroes the American enthusiast has so spectacularly put to work in his infamous Gymkhana series (and the 1983 Audi quattro Group B Ken Block hooned during his visit to Zell Am See).
Audi is mixing and matching motorsport parts for the electric Dakar racer
Now that Audi’s official teams have left DTM (after 2020) and Formula E (following the 2021 season), the automaker is focusing on the Dakar Rally, Le Mans and, as we recently found out, preparing for an F1 return in 2026 when a rule change will provide a level playing field.
However, the 671 hp RS Q e-tron dune basher still uses hardware from the carmaker’s previous motorsport efforts. As such, it comes with two electric motors from the Formula E racer and a 2.0L turbo-four that used to power its RS5 turbo in DTM, which now charges the 50 kWh battery.
Packing a carbon fiber body on top of a tubular steel frame with aluminum double-wishbone suspension, Brembo steel brakes, KW dampers, six cooling circuits, Bosch electronics, and energy recovery, the machine tips the scales at 2,000 kg (4,400 lbs), which is the minimum requirement for the Dakar rally.
On loose surfaces like gravel and sand, the four-ringed creature can hit 60 mph/96 kph) in 4.5 seconds. And while it has a top speed limited to 106 mph (170 kph), it can do that almost anywhere.
A different setup compared to the usual Gymkhana material
However, unlike the slide-biased machines, Ken Block enjoys, this racer was naturally built for efficiency, which is why it doesn’t seem to get as tail-happy as one might expect from a demo stunt drive or whatever KB had planned for the stint.
In a nutshell, the whole thing looks and perhaps even sounds like an RC toy that can sit accommodate two humans and uses an actual steering wheels as a controller.
Block was impressed with the instant electric torque and the consistent driving dynamics of the motorsport tool, even though we’re ready to bet he’ll be preparing at least one looser setup for the S1 Hoonitron, his very own EV track toy that Audi is preparing.