What you’re looking at is called the Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer. But while it may look like just a souped-up version of the sixth-gen CR-V, underneath the friendly family SUV’s body panels is anything but.
That’s because there’s actually a full-blown race car underneath – and Honda isn’t even trying to hide it. It’s built on a tube frame chassis, but with the CR-V’s steel body tacked onto the upper half. The rest of it, however, is all carbon fibre – including the massive flared fenders, front splitters, butterfly front doors, and the giant rear wing.
Other motorsport-related parts include its front suspension and Brembo brakes that borrowed from the latest Honda NSX GT3 racer; the rear set-up meanwhile comes from the current Dallara Indycar single-seater race car. There’s also a McLaren Applied TAG 400i Engine Control Unit, alongside an racecar-spec XTrac six-speed sequential transmission.
But the highlight here is, of course, the fire-breathing engine underneath the rear clamshell cover, featuring a 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine and a supercapacitor-based hybrid system (like the Lamborghini Sian) for a total system output of 800 hp.
READ MORE: All-new 2022 Honda CR-V debuts with sharper looks, improved hybrid powertrain
The powertrain is a preview of what the company will be using in its upcoming 2024 Indycar entry. With further development of the engine to its final 2.4-litre displacement, it’s expected to make upwards of 900 hp.
More importantly, though, the V6 engine in the CR-V Hybrid Racer – affectionately known as the “The Beast” – is also tuned to run on Shell’s 100% renewable fuels, as it’s designed to be a “rolling laboratory” for its further development of electrified technologies and renewable fuel systems.
Both of these technologies will soon become increasingly important, not only in terms of motorsports, but also for the mass production vehicles. Europe is already set to ban internal combustion engines beginning 2035, with the sole exception being those powered by 100% carbon-neutral fuels.
Honda says it has no plans to bring the CR-V Hybrid Racer to actual racing events… but if the right opportunity presents itself, we don’t think Honda is one to shy away from challenges.
For now though, The Beast will be making its rounds at the Indycar races this year as a unique technological showpiece, starting on 3 March at the season opener at St Petersburg, Florida.