Honda shoved an IndyCar powertrain into a hybrid CR-V, and the automaker released a video showing how it was done.
Called the CR-V Hybrid Racer, the unique build was engineered by Honda Performance Development, the motorsport unit responsible for Honda’s IndyCar engine program, and built at Honda’s North American Development Center in Ohio by a volunteer team of passionate Honda employees called the Honda of America Racing Team in their spare time.
The goal of the project was to show that hybrids can be fun and to show what Honda engineers can do when there are no regulations, explains Hannah Westbrook, one of those engineers, in the video . The CR-V Hybrid Racer also serves as a rolling laboratory and test bed, said Honda Performance Development Director David Salters.
Dubbed the Beast, the CR-V Hybrid Racer marries the 2.2-liter turbocharged V6, along with the Xtrac 6-speed sequential transmission and rear suspension, of an IndyCar race car with the front suspension and steering of a an Acura NSX GT3 racing car. The front brakes are also NSX GT3 parts, but the rear brakes are custom. It’s all strapped to a custom frame with bodywork that’s a mix of stock 2023 CR-V and DTM and Group B-inspired elements.
Maximum power is estimated at around 800 hp. A hybrid system operates like IndyCar’s current push-to-pass system, but relies on electric power rather than additional turbo boost to provide a quick surge of additional power. This also allows for all-electric launches.
The project lasted 14 months, with the construction team of volunteers working nights and weekends. Integrating the carryover CR-V sheetmetal proved difficult, including some trial and error in the design of the rear clamshell section that opens to reveal the IndyCar engine. Made from the stock CR-V body, it was originally hinged at the top, but this was later reversed.
While the production CR-V hybrid won’t adopt a powertrain like the IndyCar setup, sticking with Honda’s current efficiency-focused hybrid system, IndyCar plans to introduce hybrid powertrains for the race season. 2024.