Home / Social media / News / Experience 40 years of automotive advancement - Ken Block's Hoonitron drag races the iconic Group B Audi Quattro


This one from Mat Watson and the Carwow crew is one of the few videos that makes us properly jealous here at SXdrv. Well, to be fair, a lot of the cars he gets to drive make us a little green, but being handed the keys to one of the most iconic and legendary racecars of all time as well as its modern counterpart turns that light shade of green into the deepest, darkest green imaginable. Of course, there are some amazing visuals in this video, but what’s most interesting is just how far automotive technology has come in the last 40 years by pitting the Group B Audi Quattro up against the all-electric Audi S1 Hoonitron. One key difference is that the Hoonitron was purpose-built for one man to show off what the brand is capable of, and the car was built at an astronomical expense. The Group B Audi was also created with a massive budget to be as competitive as possible in the rallies that it conformed to, but in this case, there were homologation rules so a tame street-legal version had to be seen on showroom floors to be sold to the public. If that had happened with the Hoonitron we’d never see one come to life, not many people out there have $12,000,000 to splash out on a new toy. The Group B Audi used in this drag race is from 1985 (I was 7) and it shows off all the best race-spec technology available at the time. It’s still a pricey car to own these days, one sold at an RM Sotheby’s auction last year for $2.181,820.82. The big difference is that if one of these cars needs any attention on the engine, drivetrain or bodywork, there are literally hundreds of experts and companies around the world that can help sort it. If something goes sough with the Hoonitron, only Audi’s in-house team of technicians can help. Luckily there’s only one of them.

When the Group B Audi Quattro S1 was put together in the early 80s was a monster and even by today’s standards, it’s not shy on power. The powerplant is a turbocharged 2.1-litre 5-cylinder that was rated at a very impressive 373 kW with 480 Nm of torque. This power was sent to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system with either a 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual or the same with a powershifted PDK automatic (yes, as in Porsche PDK), depending on which variation we’re talking about. This one is the 6-speed manual. Being a racecar, all components are as lightweight as possible and so the 80s classic tips the scales at a mere 1,090 kg making for a rather epic power-weight-ratio. The 40-year jump to the Hoonitron sees a fully electric setup with a purpose-built body housing two electric motors, one driving the front wheels and one driving the back to make it all-wheel drive. This setup generates 507 kW with 640 Nm of torque. Thanks to a 50 kWh battery, the new-generation show car weighs in at 1,620 kg. On paper, things should even out, but electric vehicles don’t have to wait for maximum power or torque to arrive in the rev range, power is instantaneous, and that makes a world of difference in performance. While the 80s Quattro has one of the best soundtracks of any car, ever, the sound in the cabin of the Hoonitron is pretty damn cool too. 

Take a look at the YouTube video from the crew at Carwow as they show us the progress that's happened over the last 40 years in competition cars by putting up the iconic and legendary Group B Audi Quattro against the purpose-built, all-electric S1 Hoonitron built for Ken Block to use in his last amazing driving video before he left us, Eletcrikhana. Mat Watson has the best job on the planet, hands down. Check it out: Ken Block Hoonitron v Audi Quattro Rally Car: DRAG RACE | carwow

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