Ahead of the debut of hybrid power units in the NTT Indycar Series in 2024, Honda has provided a peek into the upcoming technology with the reveal of its CR-V Hybrid Racer.
Described as ‘an Indycar wolf in CR-V clothing’, the vehicle was designed by Honda Performance Development (HPD) in collaboration with the North America Auto Design Division (NAAD) of American Honda, at the OEM’s Automotive Development Center (ADC) in Ohio, USA.
Built by the Honda of America Racing Team (HART), the CR-V Hybrid Racer features a 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged, electrified Honda V6 Indycar power unit and transmission under 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid bodywork. It features Skeleton supercapacitors and Empel MGU hybrid motor technology and operates using 100% renewable race fuel from Shell. The project is described as a ‘rolling laboratory’ and will help the OEM develop its electrified technology.
A tubular chromoly steel chassis houses the aforementioned componentry, shod in bodywork designed by NAAD. The lower half of the car, including the large front splitter and the louvered, flared fenders, is made from carbon composite. The upper half utilizes a standard production sixth-generation CR-V steel body, consisting of the glass windshield, windows and sunroof. A large rear wing has been fitted for additional downforce, and there are butterfly half-cut doors on either side.
“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 of Honda Performance Development.
The Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer is finished in a wrap designed by Lili Melikian, senior exterior designer at Honda. The design features ghosted images of the powertrain and Indycar Series circuits.
“The graphics were inspired by the hybrid powertrain, radiating from Honda Hybrid Blue to Honda Racing Red to symbolize the duality of the drivetrain,” explained Melikian. “While the ‘speed squirkles’ add a dynamic fun layer and showcase the playful side of Power of Dreams. Throughout the wrap, we have also sprinkled Easter eggs like ghosted outlines of Honda-sponsored tracks and an overhead view of the engine that powers the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer.”