Audi has unveiled its first collaboration with Ken Block – the Audi S1 e-tron Quattro Hoonitron – which will feature in the upcoming ‘Electrikhana’ film, the latest evolution of the wildly popular Gymkhana franchise.
Clearly inspired by the iconic Audi S1 quattro, the S1 Hoonitron is very much a bespoke build, sharing more than a passing resemblance to the Group B icon rather than one of Audi’s existing products.
“The S1 Hoonitron combines a lot of what Audi was already famous for in the nineteen-eighties,” said Block. “For instance, the car’s spectacular aerodynamics have now been translated into a totally modern form.
“I think it’s cool that the Audi designers have been inspired by their own past and uniquely transferred the car’s technologies and appearance into the present.”
Under the skin the car has a two-motor set-up sending power to all four wheels (obviously). Power output is described as ‘galore’, although no actual figures have been revealed yet.
It has a full carbon fiber chassis and body, with it meeting all FIA safety standards – although don’t expect it to compete in any sanctioned competition any time soon.
Block has already had a taste of the car, with its ability to launch into a 150kph (93mph) donut from a standstill leaving quite the impression.
“Audi gave me the opportunity to test it for a few days in Germany,” he said. “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 150kph 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. My thanks go to the whole Audi Sport squad for their outstanding teamwork.”
The car’s entire development was handled by the Audi Sport skunkworks in Neckarsulm, the same location where the Audi RS e-tron GT is produced.
That Audi has now developed this car for me and my team, and has joined us in our next project, has made a dream come true for meKen Block
“When we first heard about this project, the whole team was thrilled immediately: we had the opportunity to develop a car that combines an icon of our brand with the future,” said Marc Lichte, Audi’s chief designer.
“It was about creating a modern, all-electric interpretation of the S1 Pikes Peak. The timeline was extremely tight: 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. We were constantly in touch with Ken Block and his team and engaged in intensive exchanges.”
‘Electrikhana’, the working title of Block’s next viral video, is set to be released next year, and will mark the first time a video in the series has featured an Audi, with previous installments – including the Terrakhana and Climbkhana spin-offs and the latest iteration with Travis Pastrana – all featuring either Subarus or Fords as the star car.
“The collaboration with Audi is a very special partnership for me. The brand and its passion for motorsport motivated me to get into rallying,” said Block.
“That Audi has now developed this car for me and my team, and has joined us in our next project, has made a dream come true for me.
“The Hoonitron is writing the next chapter in our history and taking our Gymkhana story into the future.”