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March 1, 2023

Honda Creates Wild 800-Horsepower CR-V Hybrid Racer

When it comes to go-fast Hondas, the last thing on your mind would be the CR-V. That’s probably the reason why the guys over at Honda Performance Development—the North American racing arm of Honda—decided to transform it anyway into an 800-horsepower machine.

Meant to commemorate the Indycar racing series’ shift to hybrid power by 2024, the CR-V Hybrid Racer, as this one off is called, will be a “rolling electrified laboratory” for Honda.

While under development, the project carried the appropriate code name “The Beast,” with looks reminiscent of the silhouette GT racing and Group B rally cars of the 1980s and ‘90s. But the technology under the skin is strictly 21st century.

Conceived and designed by the engineers at Honda Performance Development (HPD) in California and designers from the North America Auto Design Division (NAAD) of Honda, then built at Honda Automotive Development Center (ADC) by the Honda of America Racing Team (HART), the CR-V ditches its pedestrian powertrain for a 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged and electrified V6 shared with Honda’s Indycar racer (HI23TT). Power is then routed through an Xtrac 6-speed sequential shift with paddle shifters. Currently, Honda quotes an 800-horsepower output, but reports suggest it could go as high as 900 horsepower as powertrain development continues.

The CR-V Hybrid Racer runs on 100 percent renewable race fuel; and features world-leading Skeleton Supercapacitors (instead of a lithium-ion battery) and Empel MGU hybrid motor technology.

Although the CR-V Hybrid Racer looks almost nothing like Honda’s sixth-generation family SUV, it does use the production model’s bodywork from the beltline up. This includes the windshield, windows, sunroof, and even steel body. The lower half, meanwhile, is made of a carbon-composite structure and, of course, incorporates a massive front splitter and louvered, flared fenders. An equally large rear wing and butterfly half-cut doors on either side for the driver and passenger complete the bodywork.

Underneath, the front suspension and brakes has been nicked off a Honda NSX GT3 racecar, while the rear suspension and brakes is from a Dallara IR-18 Indycar. Firestone 20-inch wheels and tires fill in each corner, with the fronts measuring 285/35R20s, and the rears, 305/35R20s.

The CR-V Hybrid Racer will do on-track demonstrations as several Indycar events, and is meant to strengthen connections between Honda’s motorsports program with their passenger vehicle offerings.

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