Ken Block’s Elektrikhana: here’s your first look at the wild Audi S1 ‘Hoonitron’ | Top Gear
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Ken Block’s Elektrikhana: here’s your first look at the wild Audi S1 ‘Hoonitron’

Block ditches combustion for batteries in his next Gymkhana vid, and TG gets an exclusive audience with the star car

Published: 15 Dec 2021

Officially, it’s called the Audi S1 e-tron quattro Hoonitron, which is a very long-winded name for a very simple premise: it’s an all-electric drift machine built for Mr Kenneth Block and his upcoming ‘Elektrikhana’ video.

And if it looks even vaguely familiar, then good, because it’s supposed to. Ken is now collaborating with Audi, and for his first car wanted to reference the Big Gun – the original Pikes Peak Sport quattro S1 that motorsport enthusiasts get so worked up about.

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Side-by-side, the original’s boxy frame has evidently been put through a giant manual juice press; the Hoonitron – good name, btw – altogether smoother, sleeker but carrying that familiar signature. Turns out Audi design boss Marc Lichte didn’t have long to get it right. “It was about creating a modern, all-electric interpretation of the S1 Pikes Peak. The timeline was extremely tight: we only had four weeks from the first drawing to the final design,” he said.

Quite what those enthusiasts will make of their beloved icon being transformed into an electric tyre-shredder for digital audiences remains to be seen, but the results should be spectacular. We’re only told at this stage that the Hoonitron packs an electric motor on each axle for all-wheel drive, and “power galore”. So… [extends hands] that much? Yes, that much.

It’s packed into a carbon fibre chassis with “full safety standards” as prescribed by the FIA… and that’s about it. We don’t know how fast it’ll accelerate (probably ‘very’), what the top speed is (probably ‘much’), nor any power or torque figures.

We do know that it’s a car that has forced Ken to adopt a new style of driving. “I’m familiar with a wide variety of cars using internal combustion engines and transmissions,” he said about his short test last month in Germany, “but there were a lot of new things for me to learn here.

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“Spinning into a donut at 150kmh (93mph) 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,” he added.

You’ll see the results of this burgeoning relationship between Ken and his new car (sitcom, anyone?) very soon – Elektrikhana will be released online in the next few months. “The Hoonitron is writing the next chapter in our history and taking our Gymkhana story into the future,” Ken said.

Speaking of the future, what Audi should Ken deploy for his next video? Our vote goes to the humble little A2…

Photography: Philipp Rupprecht

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