First “uncovered” look at the radical 800HP CR-V Hybrid Racer

You remember that article about the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer Project, right? You know, that beastly 800HP crossover that’s been stripped and dropped to racecar “proportions” albeit looking all raw and dirty when it was first shown off? Progress has been good, and in all its liveried glory, we now have our first look at the hybrid-powered beast.

A CR-V for the speed demon and not for the family

Okay, so maybe it’s not for every speed demon out in the world. The CR-V Hybrid Racer project is Honda Performance Development’s brainchild. In finding ways to promote hybrid options as a power source for high-performance racing, and to highlight its ready adaptability to different platforms, the machine you see here today is set to do just that.

Hpd Honda Cr V Hybrid Racer Inline 01 Min

Photo: Honda

Hpd Honda Cr V Hybrid Racer Inline 02 Min

Photo: Honda

As we can see, this is all but the shell of what is – or was – a CR-V. Its exterior and interior have gone full-race crazy and it’s been stripped of all its passenger vehicle bits to make way for a gull-winged, lifting rear hatch, tube chassis, and IndyCar skin that Honda decided to show off with these photos.

“This project vehicle is an IndyCar ‘beast’ in Honda CR-V ‘sheep’s clothing’. The CR-V Hybrid Racer 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,” said David Salters, president and technical director for Honda Performance Development, (HPD) the North American racing arm of American Honda and Acura.

“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’!” he later added.

Hpd Honda Cr V Hybrid Racer Inline 03 Min

Photo: Honda

Hpd Honda Cr V Hybrid Racer Inline 04 Min

Photo: Honda

That said, a lot of work has been put into this CR-V Hybrid Racer. It features a Chromoly steel tube chassis while maintaining the standard production sixth-generation model’s steel body, including the glass windshield, windows, and even the sunroof. The lower half of the “racecar” has gone on a weight reduction diet, making use of a carbon-composite construction, incorporating a massive front splitter and louvered, flared fenders.

To complete the whole racer aesthetic, an extremely large rear wing was slapped onto what remains of the tailgate, along with butterfly half-cut doors – AKA gull-wing doors – on both the driver and passenger sides completing the bodywork.

Hpd Honda Cr V Hybrid Racer Inline 05 Min

Photo: Honda

Hpd Honda Cr V Hybrid Racer Inline 06 Min

Photo: Honda

Powering the CR-V Hybrid Racer is a 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged, electrified Honda V6 IndyCar power unit and transmission. The mill is good for a whopping 800 HP all while giving off zero carbon emissions. It will also make full use of Shell’s 100% renewable race fuel and features world-leading Skeleton Supercapacitors and Empel MGU hybrid motor technology.

Earlier we mentioned that this isn’t going to be for everyone, for quite obvious reasons. The CR-V Hybrid Racer is a one-of-one unit that is set to make its debut in the NTT IndyCar Series that will flag off in 2024. Behind it all, its birth (or build, if we are going to be technical about it) means to create additional awareness around the new IndyCar hybrid powertrain while showcasing the fun and power available from Honda electrified powertrains. It wants to put the spotlight on the innovation, creativity, and capabilities of both HPD and the Honda Automotive Development Center as well.

Right now, we can definitely say that it’s already accomplished that part; putting the spotlight on Honda, we mean. As for the racing part, we don’t think there’s any doubt that this will be a certified track monster once it “fires up” its engine. We’re pretty sure you think so, too, yes? Yes.

Mikko Juangco
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