When Audi developed its famous Quattro rally car to compete in the crazy Group B era, it forever rewrote the history of world rallying. The turbocharged four-wheel-drive, flame-spitting, wastegate-chirping machine delivered the driver’s titles for Hannu Mikkola (1983) and Stig Blomqvist (1984). When Audi departed the WRC as a factory team in 1987 it had 24 wins from 58 rallies under its belt. Drawing on that history rally outfit EKS has created an Audi A1 Quattro WRC car for the new generation.
Former DTM driver and FIA RX star Mattias Ekström has formed a new team called EKS JC in conjunction with Joel Christoffersson. The team is responsible for developing the Audi A1 Quattro WRC car in co-operation with South African company Rally Technic. The new racer will be built to Rally2-specification that means it will be eligible for the WRC2 and WRC3 support categories.
The base car for this project is the latest generation of Audi A1 (read our driving review of the hatchback by clicking here). Most obvious of the changes is a bespoke body kit that has massive wheel-arch extensions to accommodate larger wheels and more suspension travel. As a nod to its forebear, the Audi A1 Quattro WRC is finished in the same livery as the factory-run cars of the 1980s.
Under the bonnet is a 1,6-litre engine. The turbocharged unit pumps out 196 kW of power. Drive is sent through a five-speed sequential transmission on to a permanent all-wheel-drive system.
Ekström drove a series-specific Audi S1 (car with Red Bull livery pictured above) in the FIA World Rallycross Championship from 2014 to 2019. He won the title in 2016 and finished runner-up the following two seasons.
“When the new generation of Audi A1 was launched, we knew we wanted to build something out of it,” said Ekström. “And since everyone knows my passion for rallying, it quickly became clear that we will build a rally car,”
“The car is ready. It’s just the set-up work left. We need to do some test kilometres and gather the information. There is no real set date for it, but it is quite clear we will see the car in some competitions in spring/summer. For now, this car is just for our own use but when we will be satisfied with its performance, we will offer it for rent or purchase to other competitors,” he added.