Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer debuts – a beast in sheep's clothing with an 800 hp IndyCar hybrid powertrain – paultan.org
After some teasing, the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer has made its full debut as a technological showcase for the NTT IndyCar Series, which will make the switch to hybrid power units in 2024.
Conceived and designed by the engineers at Honda Performance Development (HPD) in California, the CR-V Hybrid Racer is set to make an appearance at next month’s season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg before heading to other venues for on-track demonstrations.
Also referred to as The HPD Beast, this “CR-V” clearly represents Honda’s created idiom of “a beast in sheep’s clothing.” On the outside, you’ll notice the sixth-generation model’s bodywork from the beltline up, including the windshield and greenhouse taken from the hybrid variant of the SUV.
However, underneath the metal, there is a chromoly (a type of metal alloy) tube frame chassis, to which HPD applied the front suspension and brakes from the Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 race car. Meanwhile, the rear suspension and brakes are lifted from the Dallara IR-18 IndyCar.
Accompanying these components are 20-inch two-piece alloy wheels from 2Elle Engineering, which are paired with Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 ultra-high performance summer tyres with profiles of 285/35 at the front and 305/35 at the rear.
The wider wheels and tyres are also the reason for the custom carbon-fibre lower bodywork that incorporates flared fenders and NACA intake ducts. For aerodynamics, the CR-V Hybrid Racer gets a large front splitter and rear wing, along with a massive rear diffuser. As for the interior, nearly all practicality is thrown out for a race-focused cabin that can accommodate a driver and front passenger.
“The graphics were inspired by the hybrid powertrain, radiating from Honda Hybrid Blue to Honda Racing Red to symbolize the duality of the drivetrain,” Honda R&D’s senior exterior designer Lili Melikian explained.
“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,” she added.
Power comes from a Honda HI23TT 2.2 litre V6 with two BorgWarner EFR7163 turbochargers, which runs on Shell’s 100% renewable race fuel. The hybrid porition of the system is the driver-activated Empel electric motor generator unit that is linked to a Skeleton supercapacitor energy storage system. According to HPD, the total system output is around 800 hp, which is four times that of a regular CR-V sold in the United States.
Other aspects of the powertrain include a Tag-400i engine control unit from McLaren Applied Technologies, an Xtrac six-speed paddle shift gearbox and a radiator adapted from the Dallara IR-18. The engine is mid-mounted behind the driver, requiring a clamshell rear bodywork, which also leads to the fitment of butterfly half-cut doors for access.
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