Honda Performance Development introduces a new project car based on CR-V. Honda's US sports offshoot will be letting the hybrid racer race across the track in public for the first time at the season opener of the IndyCar series from March 3rd to 5th in St. Petersburg (Florida).
At Honda, you should know only too well that there are more emotional cars than a CR-V with a hybrid drive. The Japanese have accepted this without complaint for five model generations. But now they seem determined to counteract the gray bread image. Which is why Honda Performance Development (HPD), the factory tuning and motorsport department of the North American Honda branch, is soon bringing a motorsport offshoot onto the track.
After Honda provided a foretaste with a 30-second teaser video a few days ago, the manufacturer presented the hybrid racer in all its glory on February 28, 2023. Honda will be unveiling the red and blue CR-V to the public for the first time as part of the IndyCar season opener on March 3-5. Throughout the year, the project car will advertise itself and arouse interest at the race weekends of the US American single-seater championship with demo drives.
Biturbo V6 in the Honda
Under the hood is a double-charged V6 engine from the IndyCar. How much the Honda drive in the SUV achieves is unknown. In principle, however, it should have around 700 hp. The displacement is 2.2 liters. The six-speed gearbox comes from Xtrac, the turbochargers from Borg Warner and McLaren Applied Technologies provide the engine control unit. The racing fuel comes from the mineral oil giant Shell and is 100 percent renewable.
In contrast to the formula series, the CR-V already has an electric component. The IndyCar cars, on the other hand, will use hybrid technology from the 2024 season. Both the SUV and the racing series rely on a supercapacitor that shoots up the electrical power immediately and thus boosts it. The supercapacitor in the CR-V comes from the Skeleton company, while the IndyCar will use one from Mahle.
Hardly any series parts on the hybrid racer
One thing is clear: the hybrid racer adopts little or nothing from the series CR-V. The tubular frame chassis carries a powerful carbon body kit that both lengthens and widens the body enormously. The front apron presents a huge radiator throat and merges seamlessly into the side parts, in whose wheel arch extensions there are ventilation gills. At the front there is also a splitter with side air deflectors and a hood with a large air outlet.
The front suspension is from the Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 developed by HPD. Manufacturer Brembo supplies the brakes for the hybrid racer. The brake discs are 380 millimeters on the front axle and 350 millimeters on the rear.There she adapts HPD to the rear suspension, which is adapted from the IndyCar chassis built by Italian unit supplier Dallara.
In the area of the sills, which are pulled far up, it continues in a voluminous style. In Formula 1, the lateral aerodynamic aids would probably be called "barge boards". Above it is a large air intake, which underlines that the (combustion) engine has moved from the front to the middle position. The exhaust system exits the car in the form of a large and small tailpipe on the side in front of the rear wheels.
Wings and diffuser in jumbo format
The Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer appears even wider at the back than at the front. A classic rear apron is missing; between the lower end of the tailgate and the XXL diffuser, it presents itself so open-heartedly that a lot of technology can be seen. At the top, a jumbo-sized wing crowns the CR-V rear. To all appearances, what looks like a roof rail serves as an air guide element to optimally flow onto the wing.
Other notable features: The wheels have Firestone semi-slicks. The driver's door opens forwards and slightly upwards, while the rear part can be folded back completely from the B-pillar - for reasons of the mid-engine layout. The interior is typically sparse in motorsport – with a roll cage and a steering wheel with numerous adjustment options.
Where does Honda use the hybrid racer?
The question also remains open as to whether the CR-V Hybrid Racer will also be used in competitions in addition to demo rounds. Appearances at mountain races such as the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, which takes place on June 25 this year, are conceivable. There are classes here with technically very free regulations, in which such a car could fit well. Maybe the hybrid racer will also go to the drag strip and maybe even go drifting?
Honda's US factory tuning and motorsport department HPD transforms the brave CR-V into the extremely designed hybrid racer. Visually and technically there is hardly anything left of the base car, but the converted SUV should be spectacular in every respect. Packed with IndyCar technology, the racing car should provide a spectacular driving experience.