Honda has a redesigned CR-V on sale for 2023, but the version featured here won’t appear in showrooms.
It’s a one-off build developed by Honda Performance Development, both as a promotional tool and a rolling laboratory.
Called the CR-V Hybrid Racer, it’s built around a custom frame and packs the new hybrid powertrain Honda is developing for IndyCar. The open-wheel series is set to introduce hybrid powertrains in 2024.
The powertrain combines Honda’s current twin-turbo 2.2-liter V-6 IndyCar engine with a driver-activated Empel electric motor-generator. Instead of storing the electrical energy in a battery, the setup relies on a Skeleton supercapacitor. Also borrowed from IndyCar is the Xtrac 6-speed sequential transmission.
Peak power is estimated at around 800 hp. That compares with the stock CR-V Hybrid that features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder paired with Honda’s two-motor hybrid system for a combined 204 hp.
On the outside, the CR-V Hybrid Racer looks much like a regular CR-V that’s been slammed. Everything from the waistline up is actually stock CR-V, including the steel body, windows, and even a sunroof. Below this, though, is a custom carbon-composite shell with flared fenders and butterfly half-cut doors.
The CR-V Hybrid Racer is set to make its debut at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg running March 3-5 in Florida. The race serves as the opening round of the 2023 IndyCar season. The concept vehicle will show up at a number of additional IndyCar rounds and in some cases will make track appearances.
While the production CR-V won’t adopt a powertrain like the IndyCar setup, a new powertrain is coming to the popular compact crossover. Honda last fall confirmed plans for a CR-V equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.
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