How the Audi Sport Quattro S1 and the Black Volcano Changed WRC

Sport Quattro S1 Pikes Peak

In the short span of six years, Audi changed the WRC landscape with the Sport Quattro S1 and its determination to hire the best drivers.

Audi unleashed two forces in WRC during the 1980s and changed everything. One was Audi’s follow-up to the Ur-Quattro. Known as the Sport Quattro S1, it was designed for one purpose – to dominate Group B and win a World Rally Championship. The other was a driver with a natural talent for rallying. Known as the Black Volcano, she proved every bit as fast, and even faster, than many men in the sport.

The Audi Sport Quattro S1

The Audi Sport Quattro S1 was, and is, a force of nature in WRC. It’s not an evolution of the Ur-Quattro but a purpose-built supercar intended to dominate Group B rallying. Introduced for the 1984 season, the S1 was smaller with wider wheel arches to accommodate 9-inch wide wheels. It was almost a foot shorter than the original car, with a wheelbase to match. The carbon-kevlar body shell shaved over 300 pounds off the weight.

Sport Quattro S1Michele Mouton had the talent and skill to compete as a champion driver. But as a woman, she had to overcome sexism from critics who saw rallying as a man’s sport. Nicknamed “the Black Volcano” by the German press for her hair and fiery temperament, she silenced most of her critics by winning the 1981 Rallye Sanremo in Italy. In 1982, she followed that up by winning the International Rally Driver of the Year award, helping Audi win its first manufacturer’s world title and finishing second in the driver’s standings.

Michele Mouton Audi Sport Quattro RS 002, which showed promise. However, the cancellation of Group B affected Group S as well, and the program was shelved.

Mouton went on to become the first president of the FIA’s Women & Motor Sport Commission and FIA’s manager in the World Rally Championship. She was also inducted into the Rally Hall of Fame in 2012. Audi ended its involvement in WRC after 1986, shifting its focus to touring car racing and eventually Le Mans.

Even though Audi’s rally program occupied a short period in its history, it made a lasting impact on the sport. The company’s purpose-built Sport Quattro rally cars served as the template for all the cars that followed. And by hiring Michelle Mouton to its factory team, Audi opened the door for other women race drivers to follow.

Photos: Audi Heritage  

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Mark Webb is fascinated by anything automotive and particularly loves cars that are unusual or have a good story. He’s owned a variety of cars from 60’s muscle, Japanese imports, and oddities like a VW Thing and Porsche 924. After 20 years in the automotive and tech industries, he’s a walking encyclopedia of car info and is always on the lookout for his next project or a good road trip.

Audi S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron Will Make North American Debut at Rolex Motorsport Reunion

HoonitronKen Block is going electric. Block has a new production on the horizon called ‘Electrikhana’ which promises to include plenty of his usual driving stunts. But as the name would suggest with an all-electric vehicle. But which vehicle would he use? Well, it was to be a one-of-a-kind build for sure. And if you are going to design a one-off racer from the ground up you may as well use one of the most iconic racing cars in history as inspiration. In this case that would be the 1985 Audi Sport quattro S1. Last December it was decided that an all-electric version of the rally legend would be made for Block. It is called the Audi S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron. It will be revealed in North America for the first time at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion hosted at Laguna Seca during Monterey Car Week August 17 – August 21.

The Audi S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron is not just some styling exercise concept. “It features dual electric motors, all-wheel drive, a carbon fiber chassis, and incorporation of the full suite of safety standards as dictated by motorsports’ top governing body, the FIA.” In other words, it has all the ingredients needed for Block to put on one heck of a show. It will be displayed at Laguna Seca along with its inspiration the Audi Sport quattro S1.

Four Weeks

HoonitronAudiWorld should be familiar with. But just in case you need a refresher. From 1984 to 1987, Audi rally driver Walter Röhrl drove the original Audi Sport quattro S1 during the Group B era of rally racing. Many consider that the golden era of the sport. It was during these years that the word ‘quattro’ became a household word. In 1987 Röhrl set his record of 10 minutes and 48 seconds on gravel at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. That record still stands and will likely never be broken. The unpaved road no longer exists as it has since been paved over. We don’t know if the Hoonitron will ever become as famous but it sure has some pedigree.

e-tron Future

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Ken Block Reveals Elektrikhana Hero Car

Elektrikhana Hero Car Hoonitron

This reimagined version of the quattro S1 isn’t just the star of the forthcoming Elektrikhana video — it also meets FIA safety standards.

When Ken Block and Audi announced a partnership to develop electric vehicles back in September, there weren’t a lot of details on what to expect. But as I wrote at the time, anyone with a wisp of automotive awareness and more than two brain cells to rub together could predict the endeavor would produce some killer videos. That speculation, as un-wild as it might have been, was confirmed roughly a week later, when Block teased Electrickhanaa electrified version of his internet-breaking Gymkhana videos.

Now, we’ve gotten a look at the hero car — and it’s reimagined version of the legendary Audi Sport quattro S1. Dubbed the Hooniteron, this beast will sport a carbon fiber chassis, an electric motor at each axel, and lust-inspiring bodywork that looks at once both evolutionary and futuristic.  The name is a mash-up of Hoonigan and e-tron, and as Audi design chief Marc Lichte describes,  “the project was about about creating a modern, all-electric interpretation of the S1 Pikes Peak.”

If that doesn’t sound challenging enough? There was almost no time allotted to get it done. “While our design process normally takes one to one-and-a-half years, we only had four weeks from the first drawing to the final design,” said Lichte.

At this point, there aren’t a lot of details on the performance metrics, but according to the press release, the Hoonitron meets FIA safety standards, and is described as having “power galore.” Fortunately, Block was able to translate what that intriguing bit of info about the thrust level means when you’re behind the wheel:

Audi gave me the opportunity to test it for a few days in Germany. 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. Spinning into a donut at 150 km/h directly from standstill — just using my right foot — is an all-new experience for me. Our work was focused on getting the car and I used to each other.

How long it took Hoonigan-in-Chief Block to adapt to the instant torque of the electric powertrain is something we’ll likely learn in the future. In the meantime, the announcement says that fans can expect to see the new Elektrikhana video “shortly,” and released a teaser video to whet our appetites. Personally, I’m thrilled that this machine is up to snuff for the FIA, as after Block uses it to make the donuts, it’d be amazing to see it tackle Pikes Peak. Since the electric powertrain is immune to the challenges of high elevation hooning, it sure would prove advantageous in a record run…

Image Source: Audi

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