While hybrid power units officially debut in the NTT IndyCar Series in 2024, racing fans and car enthusiasts were treated to a “sneak peek” at the incoming technology with the excellent debut of the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer at the season opener on March 5, with the Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, Florida.
A Honda driven by Marcus Ericsson was the winner of the race, thanks to the great performance of the CR-V Hybrid Racer.
“This concept car is a true IndyCar ‘wolf’ in the Honda CR-V ‘sheepskin’,” said David Salters, president and chief technical officer of Honda Performance Development (HPD), the North American racing arm. from American Honda and Acura.
“The CR-V Hybrid Racer -he added-, is our electrified rolling laboratory, to investigate how far the talented men and women of HPD and Honda could go with electrification, hybrid technology and 100 percent renewable fuels”
He explained that this model places a 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged electrified Honda V6 IndyCar transmission and power unit under the body of the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid to create the “rolling laboratory” for the continued development of electrified technology.
The CR-V Hybrid Racer used sixth-generation CR-V steel bodywork, including the glass windshield, windows, and even the sunroof.
But the lower half is of carbon composite construction and incorporates a massive front splitter and louvered fenders. An equally large rear spoiler and butterfly doors on both sides, for the driver and passenger, complete the bodywork.
While in development, the project bore the appropriate codename “The Beast,” with a look reminiscent of the silhouette of the Group B rally and GT racing cars of the ’80s and ’90s. skin is strictly 21st century.
This vehicle will be on display and will perform track demonstrations at multiple INDYCAR events, including:
- The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 14-16);
- The Alabama Kids’ Indy Grand Prix (April 28-30);
- The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (June 30-July 2);
- The Honda Indy Toronto (July 14-16);
- The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville (August 4-6);
- The Portland Grand Prix (September 1-3); and
- The season-concluding Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (Sept. 8-10).
In addition to INDYCAR race weekends, the CR-V Hybrid Racer will make additional appearances at select events throughout 2023.