The legendary Quattro name is soon to be back on the WRC scene thanks to EKS JC.
It might not seem like it but the legendary Quattro name, one that was built on its rallying success, has not been seen on the rally scene for quite some time. In fact, it has actually been 34 long years since Audi itself has departed the World Rally Championship (WRC) as a factory team.
Now unfortunately, Audi has yet to announce its intentions in returning to the world of rallying yet. The Quattro name on the other hand though may soon see a return to WRC, courtesy of the EKS JC team and their new Audi A1 Quattro Rally2 car.
Just a bit on background on this newly formed team, EKS JC is a collaboration between two of FIA World Rallycross Championship winners — EKS and JS. This new Audi that has been recently launched by them meanwhile is their first major leap into the world of WRC, and has been built in collaboration with South African rally specialist Rally Technic, using their Rally2 kit of parts.
As such therefore, this A1 rally car is fully compliant with FIA regulations and compete in ‘national and international competitions’. This naturally includes the Rally2 series (the support series for the WRC) of which the car is named after.
Delving deeper into the specs of the rally-ready Audi, under the hood lies a 263 hp turbocharged 1.6 litre engine that is mated to a 5-speed sequential transmission. Expectedly too given its Quattro name, drive from this powertrain that is presumably supplied by ORECA is sent to all four wheels of this A1 Rally2 car.
According to Joel Christoffersson, EKS JC Team Manager, the A1 has already been fully built and rally ready. The only thing left for the team to do is working on the car’s set up and further fine-tuning it for rallying.
To that end, the team has enlisted the help of Former FIA Junior WRC champion Emil Bergkvist as their in-house development driver to conduct snow and gravel specification tests in the near future, with tarmac trials beginning shortly after that. Additionally, rally legend Stig Blomqvist has also done a few laps in this Audi, just to shake it down further.
At the present moment, the plan is for the team to ‘enter some local or international rallies in 2021 season’. Now it might seem like a surprisingly short time from test to track, but it is worth highlighting the fact that the people at EKS are rather familiar with the Audi A1 platform.
Mattias Ekström, the head of EKS, especially is familiar with this smallest of Audis, having competed with an S1 in the FIA World Rallycross Championship from 2014 to 2019. Winning the title in 2016, and finished on the podium for the subsequent two years.
Furthermore, the Swede is rather an experienced rally driver himself, with multiple entries in various rallying events since 1999. Most recently of which is his fifth place finish in the WRC3 class with a Skoda Fabia in last week’s WRC Arctic Rally Finland.
“When the new generation of Audi A1 was launched, we knew we want to build something out of it. And since everyone knows my passion for rallying, it quickly became clear that we will build a rally car,” says Mattias Ekström about this new rally project.
“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. So it could therefore be said that there might be more than one of these Quattros on the WRC grid in the near future. Now wouldn’t that be a sight that hasn’t been seen for a while?
PRESS RELEASE: The newly formed EKS JC team, that consists of two FIA World Rallycross Championship winning squads – EKS and JC, has presented a new project: Audi A1 quattro Rally2 car.
In 2014 EKS entered the FIA WorldRX with an in-house built Audi S1 EKS RX quattro cars that proved to be amongst the most successful rallycross cars of modern era.
“When the new generation of Audi A1 was launched, we knew we want to build something out of it. And since everyone knows my passion for rallying, it quickly became clear that we will build a rally car,” says Mattias Ekström, who recently competed in WRC Arctic Rally Finland.
EKS JC in cooperation with Rally Technic, a rally car manufacturer from South Africa, have built the Audi A1 quattro rally car by using the Rally2 kit. The car is built according to the FIA standards and will be eligible for entering national and international competitions.
“At the moment the car is fully built and ready for racing, but we will still work on set-up finetuning of it,” states Joel Christoffersson, EKS JC Team Manager. “We will start with snow and gravel specification tests and later in the year we will also focus on tarmac spec.”
Audi A1 quattro is a four-wheel drive rally car with a 1,6-liter turbo engine, that produces 263 horsepower and is paired with 5-speed sequential gearbox.
“Former FIA Junior WRC champion Emil Bergkvist will be our development driver and we will start our testing sessions in a near future. We also plan to enter some local or international rallies in 2021 season,” comments Joel Christoffersson.
“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,” comments Mattias Ekström.
“We are very happy to collaborate on this project with EKS JC. The Rally2 kit provides a unique price-performance balance for competitors, but in this case, it is also combined with a legendary brand and a glorious body kit,” says Chris Coertse, Director of Rally Technic.