A few weeks ago, Audi announced that it was officially working with Ken Block on a top-secret project. Due to both Block’s and Audi’s reputation, it seemed like the project would surround some sort of electric performance car. What it actually turned out to be is so much better. It’s Ken Block’s Audi S1 Hoonitron.
Block isn’t shy about expressing his love for the original Audi Sport Quattro S1, the legendary rally car from the ’80s that dominated at Pikes Peak, with Michelle Mouton and Walter Rohrl at the wheel. Taking inspiration from that car, Audi and Block worked together to create the Audi S1 Hoonitron, an all-electric rally car that will be the star of Block’s next Gymkhana video — Elektrikhana.
“The S1 Hoonitron combines a lot of what Audi was already famous for in the nineteen-eighties,” said Ken 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.”
Specs haven’t been released just yet but Audi does say it will have two electric motors, one at each axle, all-wheel drive (obviously), and a carbon fiber chassis.
“Audi gave me the opportunity to test it for a few days in Germany,” said Block of his time with Audi in Germany, last November. “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. My thanks go to the whole Audi Sport squad for their outstanding teamwork.”
The Audi S1 Hoonitron looks absolutely incredible. It looks exactly like what an all-electric Audi rally car should look like. It genuinely look inspired by the original Sport Quattro S1, while also paving its own path. It’s a brilliant piece of design by Marc Lichte and his team.
“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 Lichte, Audi’s chief designer. The challenges were tremendous: “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.”
Block’s Gymkhana videos always draw millions and millions of viewers and are always incredible spectacles. Knowing that the next one will feature an all-electric, entirely bespoke car from Audi makes the upcoming Gymkhana even more exciting for us fans.
“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.”