Honda is turning the CR-V Hybrid to turn it into an 800-hp race car. The completed project vehicle, simply dubbed Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer, will be revealed on Feb. 28.
Teaser photos released by Honda hint at a vehicle that only bears a superficial resemblance to the road-going CR-V Hybrid. The entire rear section of the body—including the hatch and rear doors—lifts up as one clamshell section, while the driver enters and exits through what appear to be Lamborghini-style scissor doors.
2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer
Typical racing modifications can be glimpsed as well, including a massive rear wing, and a complex aero arrangement for the front bumper. There also appear to be air intakes in the body sides, suggesting a mid-engine configuration.
The CR-V Hybrid Racer is a joint project of Honda’s North American R&D and design offices, as well as Honda Performance Development (HPD), the outfit responsible for all Honda and Acura racing programs for North America, including the Honda IndyCar and Acura IMSA sports-car programs, as well as the Honda Ridgeline desert race truck.
Honda redesigned the CR-V for the 2023 model year, marking the popular crossover’s sixth generation. The 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid, which started production in Ohio in October 2022, is normally powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 working with Honda’s two-motor hybrid system. Output from the factory is 204 hp.
The CR-V Hybrid may not seem like the ideal basis for a race car, but Honda is eager to promote this model, seeing increased hybrid sales as a step toward greater electrification. Beginning with the 2023 model year, Honda aims to make hybrids 50% of CR-V sales in the U.S. It’s the first step in a gradual electrification strategy that will see the launch of the Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX electric SUVs, as well as a CR-V powered by hydrogen fuel cells, in 2024, followed by the first EVs for the Sony-backed Afeela brand in 2025.