Four-wheel drive and steering at the Andros Trophy

Aurélien Panis explains the principle of four-wheel drive and steering, one of the special features of the electric cars in the Andros Trophy.

A four-wheel drive and steering car

Four wheel drive...

According to Aurélien, the four-wheel drive of his Audi provides propulsion and traction, in the same way as in everyday 4X4 cars. Otherwise known as all-wheel drive, the mechanism allows the engine to transmit some of its power to each wheel. This gives the competition vehicle more traction, power, grip and safety. It is more suitable for driving on ice, as in the Andros Trophy. This system allows the car to get out of corners more quickly, to spin less and therefore to have a better transmission of the 350 horsepower electric motor.

And four-wheel steering

What is more original and one of the great characteristics of the cars competing in the Andros Trophy is their four-wheel steering. When Aurélien Panis turns the steering wheel, the front wheels of his car turn like those of a conventional car, but the rear wheels also turn in the opposite direction. At high speeds, the fact that the rear wheels are mobile optimises stability.

The advantages of four-wheel steering

The advantage for Aurélien is that the four-wheel steering will allow him to turn his car in corners more easily and quickly, without the need to use a hand brake. The latter is not allowed in cars competing in the Andros Trophy. How does the racer adjust this mechanism? By means of steering cams. They allow the degree of rotation of the rear wheels to be adjusted in order to modify the car's behaviour. Aurélien Panis therefore adapts the settings according to the different circuits.

A course with many hairpins or tight turns will require an aggressive steering cam. The rear wheels must turn quickly and significantly. This is the case of the Val Thorens circuit for example.

On the other hand, a circuit with long corners will require a less aggressive cam, so that the car does not turn too much. This is a configuration that we find on the Andorra circuit.

Aurélien Panis and his competitors have to play with their wheels to get a good performance and the best possible results.

Photograph © Etienne Gauthier