We Rode Audi x Hoonigan’s New Car & It Was a Real-life Carnival Ride

If you aren’t a car person, you might know racing driver Ken Block best as the co-founder of perennial skate brand, DC Shoes. If you don’t know Ken Block at all, then you should run to Google. “Multi-hyphenate” is an eye-roll-inducing, overused designation today, but in the case of Block, his experience as a shoe designer, fashion entrepreneur, and racing driver have all converged to create the S1 Hoonitron*, a development partnership between his company Hoonigan and Audi.

So what exactly is the S1 Hoonitron*? Borrowing nomenclature and spirit from Audi’s ‘80s-era, world-rally-dominating Sport quattro and reimagining it, it is the ultimate contemporary electric counterpunch to anyone who ever said electric cars were boring. The powerhouse of a car features two electric motors, all-wheel drive, a carbon fiber chassis, and suspension optimized for multi-terrain stunts and jumping crests. Consider the future defined.

Block and Audi invited me to join them for some testing in Las Vegas as one of the only people without an Audi or Hoonigan ID badge to experience the performance crystal ball they built. As someone with a fair degree of seat time in other race cars, I had an idea of what to expect. I was wrong. Nothing about what I thought I knew was right. Those are the best experiences because they’re a testament to how great of a departure the innovation is from the status quo of the universe it’s competing in. It’s hard to describe. Everything about how the S1 Hoonitron* behaves is different from the sensations of a gas-powered race car. It sounds like a carnival merry-go-round from hell and feels like your childhood toy R/C car, but you’re inside of it, and Block is the controller.

The S1 Hoonitron* and its technology are a paradox. It is both linear and highly intense; its consistency in outputs allows you to be erratic with your inputs, creating as wild or calm an experience as you wish. Watch the video above for some behind-the-scenes of Block and Audi’s development process that we were there for.

*The vehicle mentioned and shown is intended for professional use on closed circuits only and is not available as a production model.

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