More than eight million cars with quattro drive have left the assembly lines around the globe to date and this success story is continuing, not least due to the brand’s factory involvement in the World RX with Audi Sport. The fielding of quattro drive in rallycross marks the logical continuation of the original use of all-wheel drive. Although all cars in the Supercar class, the top category in World RX, have all-wheel drive, quattro technology in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro is nearly always in contention for victory. Perfect examples of this are the two 2016 World Championship titles in the drivers’ and teams’ classifications. Plus, with a current tally of ten race victories, Mattias Ekström, together with Petter Solberg, is the most successful campaigner in history.
quattro technology debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980 in the “Ur-quattro” (original quattro). In 1986, Audi replaced the first-generation manual center differential lock by a Torsen differential that was able to variably distribute torque, followed in 2005 by a planetary gear with asymmetrically dynamic torque distribution. Audi has continually been pursuing the further development of the self-locking center differentials. They are regarded as the benchmark in terms of traction and driving dynamics, combined with very low weight. Currently, quattro technology is available in more than 100 Audi model variants. On the Audi Q7, the Audi A4 allroad quattro, the Audi A6 allroad quattro, the Audi A8, the Audi R8 and on all S and RS models, the all-wheel drive system is standard.
Audi celebrated numerous triumphs with quattro technology in motorsport as well. Not counting the era before the Second World War including the legendary Auto Union Grand Prix race cars in 1930s, the motorsport history of AUDI AG began with the Audi quattro. The dominant victories and two manufacturers’ and two drivers’ titles achieved with the “Ur-quattro” in the World Rally Championship between 1982 and 1984 were an important factor in the market success of quattro drive.
After Audi had turned rally racing upside down and stormed up Pikes Peak (USA, 4.301 meters) in record time on three consecutive occasions with the Sport quattro, the brand from Ingolstadt made quattro drive presentable in circuit racing as well. To demonstrate its capabilities and to strengthen its market position in the United States at the same time, the Audi 200 quattro was put on the grid of the TransAm series in which it celebrated the title win in 1988. Seven races in total were won by the car’s successor, the Audi 90 quattro IMSA-GTO, as well. With the Audi V8 quattro two titles in the DTM followed in 1990 and 1991, plus eleven national titles with the A4 in production-based Supertouring Car racing – with seven of them clinched in 1996 alone. They were followed 20 years later by the two titles for Ekström and EKS in the World RX.