Published on March 2nd, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer Shows A Wild ‘What If’ Scenario

The Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer shows what happens when engineers have large budgets.

Honda has taken the automotive industry by storm with its latest creation, the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer. This vehicle is the result of a collaboration between Honda Performance Development (HPD) and the North America Auto Design Division (NAAD) of American Honda, with the build being completed by the Honda of America Racing Team (HART) at the Honda Automotive Development Center (ADC) in Ohio.

The Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer is a rolling laboratory designed to continue the development of electrified technology by Honda and HPD. Underneath its striking bodywork, this vehicle features a 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged electrified V6 INDYCAR power unit and transmission, creating a unique combination of technology that takes inspiration from Honda’s racing heritage.

The Hybrid Racer’s Chromoly steel tube chassis is clothed in bodywork that was designed by NAAD. The upper half of the vehicle utilizes a standard production sixth-generation CR-V steel body, including the windshield, windows, and even the sunroof. The lower half is made of carbon composite construction, which includes a massive front splitter, louvered flared fenders, an equally large rear wing, and butterfly half-cut doors on either side for the driver and passenger.

The vehicle runs on Shell’s 100% renewable race fuel, which reduces its carbon footprint while achieving incredible performance. The Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer features world-leading Skeleton Supercapacitors and Empel MGU hybrid motor technology, which provide efficient energy storage and management.

The one-of-a-kind wrap on the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer was designed by Lili Melikian, senior exterior designer. The graphics on the vehicle are inspired by the hybrid powertrain, radiating from Honda Hybrid Blue to Honda Racing Red to symbolize the duality of the drivetrain. The wrap also contains a variety of “easter eggs” including ghosted images of the powertrain and INDYCAR SERIES circuits, which add to the vehicle’s visual appeal.

Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer front

The Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer’s development had the appropriate code name “The Beast” due to its looks that are reminiscent of silhouette GT racing and Group B rally cars of the 1980s and ’90s. However, the technology under the skin is strictly 21st century. The vehicle is a perfect example of Honda’s innovation, creativity, and capabilities, which are showcased in both HPD and Honda Automotive Development Center.

In terms of specifications, the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer’s powertrain is comprised of a Honda HI23TT 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, Borg Warner EFR7163 turbochargers, a McLaren Applied Technologies Tag 400i Engine Control Unit, and a driver-activated Empel electric motor generator unit. The vehicle also features a Skeleton super capacitor energy storage system and an XTRAC six-speed transmission with Mega-Line Assisted paddle-shift.


The chassis and bodywork of the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer are equally impressive, with a Chromoly tube frame chassis and custom carbon fiber lower bodywork incorporating flared fenders. The vehicle’s suspension features a front suspension from HPD-developed Acura NSX GT-3 Evo22 and a rear suspension adapted from Dallara IR-18 Indy car. The Hybrid Racer’s brakes are Brembo 380mm front brakes from Acura NSX GT-3 Evo22 and Brembo 355mm custom rear brakes adapted to Dallara IR-18 suspension. Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Ultra-High Performance Summer Tires are used, with front tires 285/35-20 and rear tires a massive 305/35-20. Finally, the vehicle’s wheels are 2Elle Engineering 2-piece alloy rims with staggered widths.

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