Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer concept showcases wild IndyCar engine conversion

Alexi Falson

With hybrid powertrains making their debut in the NTT IndyCar Series next year, Honda has taken the wraps off its radical CR-V Hybrid Racer ahead of the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend.

The CR-V Hybrid packs a mean punch thanks to its 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged hybrid V6 engine and race transmission snatched from Honda’s IndyCar racer, which has been squeezed into the bodywork of a highly modified CR-V that sits super low to the ground.

The powertrain has a pair of Borg Warner turbochargers, an ECU supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies, drive-by-wire port throttle and an Empel electric motor, with power capped at 500kW. It rides on a steel tube chassis, with the company saying from the beltline up, the Hybrid Racer retains the steel body, windshield and even the panoramic sunroof of the sixth-generation CR-V.

What you won’t find on the regular CR-V, though, is the massive rear wing, butterfly doors, NSX-sourced front suspension hardware, rear suspension elements from the IR-18 IndyCar, 380mm front and 355mm rear Brembo brakes and carbon fibre bodywork at the front.

The C-RV Hybrid Racer is set to make its public debut at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, Florida, where it will be on display and will even hit the track throughout the IndyCar series. President of Honda’s Performance department, David Salters, said:

“This project vehicle is an IndyCar beast in Honda CR-V sheep’s clothing. 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 per cent renewable fuels.”

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