You Normally Wouldn’t Call a Honda CR-V “Badass”, But This 800-Horsepower Hybrid Racer Manages It

Honda is showing off where it may be headed with

Honda CR-V Hybrid HPD Racer
(Images: Honda)
  • Honda previewed its racing-focused hybrid powertrains with a souped up CR-V Hybrid race car Tuesday.
  • While the upper body resembles the standard car, little else is directly related to the production CR-V, including the racer’s 800-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
    • This “rolling laboratory” also features a supercapacitor capable of quickly dispensing huge amounts of energy — good for making lots of power.
    • The Honda CR-V Hybrid racer will debut at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix this weekend, and Honda will bring it to the other IndyCar events on this year’s calendar — though whether the automaker will actually race the car itself is unclear for the moment.

Meet Honda’s latest “rolling laboratory”: an 800-horsepower CR-V Hybrid.

While the Civic Type R is the most hardcore street-legal Honda we can get our hands on, the Honda Performance Development (HPD) team likes to push the envelope a bit every once in a while…or a lot, in this case. The team decided to engineer a CR-V based racer to preview where it could go with electrification and renewable fuels — and we now have the so-called “HPD Beast” as a result.

I say it’s a CR-V Hybrid, but you obviously can’t soup your street car up to 800 horsepower without comprehensive modifications. From the beltline down, there’s not much CR-V left in this design, including the mid-mounted 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. It’s the same unit Honda uses in IndyCar, though this season it runs on renewable fuel developed by Shell, made from ethanol, sugarcane byproduct and other biofuels. That engine pairs up to a six-speed Xtrac transmission, and also has an Empel MGU hybrid motor helping make that high power.

That’s not all, either, since it has a Skeleton Technologies supercapacitor energy storage system. It’s a solution we’ve only seen in production form for the limited-run Lamborghini Sián that’s meant to efficiently deliver bursts of energy to aid performance.

To house the bespoke setup, this CR-V racer uses a Chromoly tube frame chassis. The brakes, as you almost certainly guessed, aren’t even closely related to any production model. Instead, the 380-millimeter Brembo front brakes and front suspension come from the Acura NSX GT-3 Evo22. The HPD team adapted the rear 355-millimeter brakes and rear suspension setup from the Dallara IR-18 IndyCar. To make the most of all that power and braking capability, this CR-V hybrid racer’s rocking Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 performance tires (285/35-20s at the front and 305/35-20s at the rear).

Finally, as if you could ever miss it, the Honda CR-V racer gets a host of custom bodywork. That includes the gargantuan rear wing that would put any Type R to shame, as well as carbon fiber lower bodywork like the flared fenders.

Now, for the moment Honda has no concrete plans to actually race this car. It’s just making appearances during the IndyCar calendar as a rolling tech demo, though that could change in time. It’d be pretty awesome to see a jumped-up Honda CR-V Hybrid flex its hybrid muscle on the IndyCar circuit, or maybe in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. We’ll just have to wait and see.

You can see (and hear) the CR-V IndyCar rolling experiment in action below, as well as our take on the tamer, production CR-V hybrid: