A CR-V Indycar shows off the series hybrid power
This is one CR-V that will always win the school run
Forget about the Renault Espace F1 and the BMW X5 Le Mans, there’s a new skeleton racecar in town, and this one’s from Honda. The mad engineers at Honda Performance Development have taken next year’s Indycar driveline and stuffed it into something that looks like a 2023 Honda CR-V.
Starting in 2024, The NTT Indycar Series is switching to hybrid powertrains. Honda has been a big part of Indycar over the last few years, so the HPD team wanted to do something fun with that new driveline.
The bodywork is stock 2023 CR-V from the beltline up. Which means the roof and window openings, and that’s about all. The rest looks like a standard CR-V but is actually made from carbon fiber. The doors are actually half doors to let the driver and front passenger get in, the fender flares are completely new, and the back half of the body opens clamshell-style to show off the new engine. The whole thing is mounted to a custom chromoly tube chassis.
Mounted where the kids would normally be sitting is the new Honda Incycar driveline. A 2.2L twin-turbo V6 HI23TT engine, two Borg Warner EFR7163 turbos, and an Xtrac six-speed transmission with paddle shifts.
Add the driver-actuated Empel motor generator, a Skelton supercapacitor energy storage system, and McLaren Applied Technologies engine management and what do you get? A 2023 Honda CR-V that makes north of 800 horsepower. Yum.
It makes the 204 hp from the stock CR-V hybrid look like a joke. Of course, the CR-V Hybrid Racer doesn’t have AWD, so the stock one might be a bit better in the snow.
The front suspension comes from Acura’s GT3 category NSX racer, the rear from a Dallara Indycar. The front brakes are mammoth 380mm rotors from that GT3 NSX and the rears 355mm custom rotors. 285-wide rubber sits up front and there are 305s in the rear.
“It’s kind of an Indycar ‘beast’ in Honda CR-V ‘sheep’s clothing’,” said David Salters, president and technical director for Honda Performance Development, the North American racing arm of American Honda and Acura. “This project is our ‘rolling electrified laboratory,’ to investigate where the talented men and women of HPD and Honda could go with electrification, hybrid technology and 100% renewable fuels. It epitomizes Honda’s fun-to-drive ethos, showcases electrification and it just rocks our car culture roots and racing heritage! We present the CR-V Hybrid Racer – aka ‘The HPD Beast’!”
What is Honda doing with the HPD monster? It will be at all of this season’s Indycar races including the Honda Indy Toronto in July to do demonstration laps. It will also be at a handful of other events throughout the year.