From one extreme …
The RS Q e-tron swaps Saudi Arabia’s deserts for the ice and snow.
Lining up along with other classic Audi race cars from the past, the all-electric RS Q e-tron swaps harsh desert conditions for the ice and snow of Austria for the 2022 GP Ice Race.
1 February, 2022
From current performance cars to racing classics, rally monsters past and present, formula cars and everything in between, it is both spectacle and motorsport event
Only weeks ago it was blasting through the deserts of Saudi Arabia in its first-ever Dakar Rally, now the Audi RS Q e-tron is competing in conditions at the other end of the climatic spectrum.
The GP Ice race held at Zell am See in Austria is an event quite unlike anything else, an automotive festival on ice that sees all manner of vehicles take to the most perilous of surfaces to show what they can do.
From current performance cars to racing classics, rally monsters past and present, formula cars and everything in between, it is both spectacle and motorsport event. Studded tyres are the order of the day on the slick ice track and the addition of Skijöring – skiers pulled behind cars – gives the event a unique flavour.
Teams, manufacturers and spectators come from all over the globe, or at least they did until the ever-present restrictions of covid put paid to crowd numbers again in 2022. But even without the usual big crowds, the on-ice action has once again thrilled motoring enthusiasts all over the world, shared via video and images on social media. Not quite the same as being there, but keeping the spirit of the event alive and well until things return to normal.
For Audi Sport, it has been an opportunity to showcase the versatility of the RS Q e-tron, fresh from its outstanding Dakar debut only last month, with Mattias Ekström who finish ninth outright in the gruelling race, back behind the wheel, but this time on the ice.
Of course it’s not the first time Audi Sport has showcased its all-electric technology at the GP Ice Race. In 2019 Audi Sport took part with three of its racing heavyweights that included a Formula E race car. Driven by former Audi Sport driver Daniel Abt, the car created quite a spectacle on the ice, a unique union of sports when the Audi e-tron FE04 hit the track towing professional skier, Bene Mayr.
That year also included rally great Walter Röhrl piloting the Audi Sport quattro around the ice track – a vehicle very much at home in those conditions. While an appearance on the ice by DTM Champion René Rast behind the wheel of the Audi RS 5 DTM was no less thrilling for the crowds even if the DTM car look less in its element.
Audi has fielded all manner of cars at the event in the past, from Group B rally cars to Formula E
Joining Mattias Ekström was Harald Demuth, the man who drove the Audi up the ski jump in the famous 1980s TV ad
In 2020, Audi was back in Austria, this time rally great, Stig Blomqvist taking part for the brand and completely at home on the slick surface in his beloved Audi Sport quattro.
This year, the brand was back, again sporting both old and new machinery, as well as driving talent from today as well as more greats from the brand’s past.
Joining Mattias Ekström was Harald Demuth, a rally driver who made his name in the 1980s and who was the man responsible for driving the Audi 100 CS quattro up the ski jump in the unforgettable TV ad from 1986. He even returned to ‘the scene of the crime’ to mark the 25th anniversary of quattro in 2005, driving an Atlas grey A6 4.2 quattro up the Pitkävuori ski jump in a re-enactment of the original ad.
Also hitting the ice in Austria this year was contemporary rally and stunt driver, Ken Block, who began collaborating with Audi Sport late last year – resulting in the birth of the Audi S1 e-tron quattro Hooligan. Block took the opportunity to sample another unique all-electric Audi while he was there, seizing on the opportunity to drive the RS Q e-tron for himself.
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