There's An Audi In The WRC Again (But Not The Top Tier)
Mattias Ekstrom just introduced a WRC2-spec Audi A1, the first new Audi rally car since the Group A 200 Quattro
Well, this is quite a shock: Mattias Ekström and partner JC Raceteknik have just revealed the Audi A1 Rally2, which marks the first time an Audi has ever run a rally car since 1987.
Notice, however, that I didn't say this was a factory effort. Because it's not, and the fact that the bodywork is more subdued means that the car is meant for the lower-tier WRC2 and WRC3 categories.
Audi’s legendary Quattro could return to the FIA World Rally Championship in a new project spearheaded by motorsport world champion Mattias Ekström.
For Ekstrom, however, it doesn't matter. "We knew we want to build something out of it,” says, Ekstrom, which made the decision to build this car an easy one. "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.”
And it wasn't like this was going to be a hard car to make: the A1 road car is build on the same platform as the Skoda Fabia and VW Polo, so you may be forgiven to think that the A1 rally car is little more than a rebodied MQB thing.
Thing is, though, Ekstrom has already run the A1 and is up-trim brother, the S1, in World Rallycross events beforehand, and at one point gained factory support from Audi themselves en route to a title in 2016 (JC Raceteknik will eventually win the 2020 title with Audis), so the partnership isn't too unprecedented.
“At the moment the car is fully built and ready for racing, but we will still work on set-up fine tuning of it,” Joel Christoffersson, team principal for the newly-formed EKS-JC team that shall run this car, said in a quote from Autosport.
EKS-JC, through development driver Emil Bergkvist, have started testing the A1 Rally2 for gravel and snow, with tarmac testing coming afterwards en route for a debut this year.
UPDATE:3:53am MNL: Headline changed to better reflect what the car actually represents