Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer is an 800-Hp Beast With IndyCar Tech

Published on February 28, 2023 in Racing by Guillaume Rivard

As you may know, IndyCar will switch to hybrid power units next year. As a sort of preview, Honda Performance Development (HPD), the North American racing arm of Honda and Acura, today unveiled a mind-blowing project vehicle emphasizing the power of electrification.

Nicknamed “The Beast,” the CR-V Hybrid Racer concept was designed by HPD engineers in California and built by the Honda of America Racing Team (HART) in Ohio. It will make its public debut this weekend at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida.

The powertrain has nothing to do with that of the road-going CR-V Hybrid. Rather, it uses IndyCar’s twin-turbo 2.2-litre V6 engine mated to a six-speed XTRAC sequential transmission and running on 100% renewable race fuel developed by Shell. Meanwhile, the electric motor is fed by a supercapacitor from Skeleton Technologies. 

Total output has been confirmed at 800 horsepower, though peak torque and acceleration times are not specified. It’s safe to assume this thing is mighty fast.

The Chromoly steel tube chassis of the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer is anchored by unique front and rear suspension adapted from the Acura NSX GT-3 Evo22 and Dallara IR-18 Indy car, respectively. It’s the same thing with the Brembo brakes and their 380mm front and 355mm rear discs. The 20-inch two-piece alloy wheels are wrapped in Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 ultra-high-performance summer tires.

Then there’s the flamboyant body that features graphics and colours inspired by the hybrid power unit and Honda-sponsored IndyCar tracks. From the beltline up, the CR-V Hybrid Racer uses a standard CR-V steel body including the glass windshield, windows and even the sunroof. The lower half is of carbon-composite construction, from the massive front splitter to the ginormous rear wing and everything in between, such as the louvered and flared fenders, prominent side skirts and butterfly half-cut doors.

Photo: Honda

The overall design is reminiscent of the silhouette GT racing and Group B rally cars of the 1980s and 1990s. The cabin has been completely stripped down and transformed for racing, of course.

The Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer will be on display and making on-track demonstrations at multiple IndyCar races and other events throughout the year, including the Honda Indy Toronto on July 14-16. In the meantime, don’t miss the short video above and our photo gallery at the top of the page.

And just to be clear, Honda has no plans to launch any high-performance variant of the CR-V or CR-V Hybrid in the foreseeable future.

Watch: This is the All-New 2023 Honda CR-V

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