1400bhp Audi S1 ‘Hoonitron’ stars in Ken Block’s ‘Electrikhana’

The wild Audi S1 e-tron quattro ‘Hoonitron’ channels the iconic Quattro S1 Pikes Peak, making a strong first impression in Las Vegas

A year after its reveal, Ken Block has hit the streets of Las Vegas in his all-new, all-electric Audi S1 ‘Hoonitron’ for the latest instalment of Gymkhana (now branded ‘Electrikhana’). The new film sees Block destroy plenty of tyres in his typical fashion, with icons from Audi’s illustrious motorsport past making appearances throughout.

Set in the streets of Las Vegas, Ken Block’s first film after his collaboration with Audi Sport was announced features plenty of motorsport-related easter eggs. Everything from the incredible 1989 Audi 90 IMSA GTO to the R8 LMP and quattro Gruppe B A2 can be spotted, with Le Mans legend Tom Kristense even making a cameo. 

Though designed to tackle the Pikes Peak hillclimb – hence its compliance to FIA safety guidelines – the Hoonitron was also built with this Electrikhana film in mind. Peak output sits at 1400bhp from its two electric motors, mounted front and rear, driving 2231lb ft of torque to each axle. 

Each motor is connected to a gear reduction system and a differential, with custom settings such as a ‘preload’ to allow Block to perform his trademark manoeuvres. Of course there’s a hydraulic fly-off handbrake too, set to halt the rear motor during slides while maintaining drive to the front. There’s no wonder it destroyed over 100 of its bespoke Toyo R888 tyres during filming…

Though inspired by a Group B icon, Audi Sport turned to contemporary motorsport technology in order to meet the performance requirements for such a machine. Under the arches is suspension from WRC-2, with the motors lifted straight from season five Formula E cars (2018–19). 

Bespoke components were fabricated by Audi Sport for elements such as the motor mounting hardware, control arms and tie rods. The marque also created bespoke head and tail lights for the prototype, the former costing over $300,000 a piece. It’s estimated that the car cost in excess of $12m to develop in total.

The Formula E motors draw power from four sets of batteries from its plug-in hybrid Q7 SUVs, mounting them in the very centre of the chassis – the result is a reduction in the centre of gravity, improved weight distribution and an unusual F1-esque seating position for Block.

Wrapped around its carbonfibre chassis is a combination of carbonfibre and carbon-kevlar bodywork, sculpted in just four weeks by Audi Design in Ingolstadt under the leadership of Marc Licht. The design combines contemporary design elements from current and future models like the segmented rear light bar and chequered flag daytime running light pattern, matched with the iconic proportions and aero inspired by the iconic S2 rally car of 1985.

It’s not form over function though, with all vents leading to one of two onboard cooling systems. Sitting in front of the cabin is hardware relating to its charging, with the rear-end home to a cooling system for both the motors and batteries. 

It’s a good first showing from Audi Sport and Ken Block with the Audi S1 ‘Hoonitron’, with a second film already in the pipeline…

> An unplanned excursion in an Audi R8 GT – evo Archive

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