Ken Block’s new Audi revealed

17 December 2021 - 11:36 By Motoring Reporter
Ken Block with the original Audi Sport Quattro S1 (E2) and the new S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron.
Ken Block with the original Audi Sport Quattro S1 (E2) and the new S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron.
Image: Supplied

Motorsport icon Walter Röhrl must have had a few thoughts on his mind as he charged up Pikes Peak in 1987 behind the wheel of an Audi Sport Quattro S1. But it was unlikely that any of his musings involved how the essence of his rally chariot would evolve 34 years down the line. 

In 1987, Walter Röhrl won the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb (US) in the Audi Sport Quattro S1 (E2), setting a new record. In 10 minutes and 47.85 seconds he conquered the almost 20km course, with 156 bends and a difference in altitude of 1,439m.
In 1987, Walter Röhrl won the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb (US) in the Audi Sport Quattro S1 (E2), setting a new record. In 10 minutes and 47.85 seconds he conquered the almost 20km course, with 156 bends and a difference in altitude of 1,439m.
Image: Supplied

Today, Audi claims to have modernised the spirit of the classic S1 in a radical, electrified one-off made for American drift star Ken Block to star in his latest Elektrikhana video.

By now everyone knows this master of sideways theatrics switched allegiances from blue oval brand Ford. It was an 11-year partnership that came to an end in January this year. Block was reported describing the split as amicable, adding that the intensive electric agenda at Audi would take his famous gymkhana productions to the next level.

The new car — which wears the official title of S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron — has clear kinship to the original, from a visual perspective. From its protruding frontal spoiler to the cartoonish rear wing and squared arches, the cues have been translated faithfully. Audi chief designer Marc Lichte spearheaded the project.

The Hoonitron wears a suitably aggressive facial expression.
The Hoonitron wears a suitably aggressive facial expression.
Image: Supplied

A mighty 2.1-litre, five-cylinder motor producing 440kW and 590Nm was what powered the car Röhrl fielded three decades ago.

Though the Hoonitron may have a different battle cry to its forebear, it will retain the traditional all-wheel drive layout, with an electric motor at either axle.

Audi hasn’t divulged specifics, other than saying the vehicle offers “power galore” in addition to boasting a carbon fibre chassis and full safety standards as prescribed by motorsport’s top governing body, the FIA.

Block recently drove the Hoonitron and came away with positive sentiment overall: “I wanted the vehicle to drift fast, be agile and – despite electrification – drift perfectly. All that I can reveal after the first test drives is that I am thrilled.”

There is clear kinship between old and new.
There is clear kinship between old and new.
Image: Supplied

He conceded  he will need to adjust to certain elements.

“I’m familiar with a wide variety of cars using internal combustion engines and transmissions, but there were a lot of new things for me to learn here,” he said. “Spinning into a doughnut at 150 km/h directly from a standstill, just using my right foot,  is an all-new experience for me.”

While he declared his love for the sonorous quintet Audi is known for, Block said he welcomes a change of acoustic pace and will embrace new technologies that will help him go faster.

“The view that combustion engines are the answer because something would be missing without that growl is wrong. I have kids who don’t care about that.”

An arrow-shaped side profile, replete with protruding frontal spoiler and sizable rear wing.
An arrow-shaped side profile, replete with protruding frontal spoiler and sizable rear wing.
Image: Supplied

“They’re used to the idea there are combustion engines and electric motors, each with their own sounds."

"To them, both are cool. We need to change our attitude and learn the lack of a sound can also be very cool.”

The Elektrikhana video is set to be released in coming months and like previous productions staged by Block, it ought to be pretty riveting.



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