Home / Social media / News / Honda Performance Developments transformed a tame CR-V SUV into the monster Hybrid Racer for INDYCAR duty.


Honda’s CR-V is one of the most popular people carriers around, it’s perfect for the school drop-off run, crossing the country with family in-tow and some older models give up their parts so JDM fanbois can convert their EK Civics to all-wheel drive. Things change a fair bit when Honda Performance Development gets involved though, as seen in the release of a highly modified Hybrid Racer, a  wolf in sheep's clothing. This CR-V Hybrid Racer was built as a demo vehicle to showcase the automaker’s hybrid power unit technology, and it will be put through its paces when it debuts as part of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2024. The CR-V Hybrid Racer is the ultimate expression of Honda's fun-to-drive ethos, and the project car is designed to investigate the potential of where Honda as a brand could be headed with electrification, hybrid technology, and renewable fuels. The Hybrid Racer is based on a 6th-generation CR-V bodywork, but the lower half is made from a modern and strong carbon-composite construction and incorporates a massive front splitter and louvred, flared fenders to accommodate wider race-spec tyres. The Hybrid Racer wears a one-of-a-kind wrap designed by Lili Melikian,  Honda Performance Development’s senior exterior designer and it cleverly contains a bunch of “easter eggs,” including ghosted images of the powertrain and INDYCAR SERIES circuits. The graphics were inspired by the hybrid powertrain, radiating from Honda Hybrid Blue to Honda Racing Red to symbolize the duality of the drivetrain.

“This project vehicle is an INDYCAR ‘beast’ in Honda CR-V ‘sheep’s clothing’,” said David Salters, president and technical director for Honda Performance Development, the North American racing arm of American Honda and Acura. “The CR-V Hybrid Racer is our ‘rolling electrified laboratory’, to investigate where the talented men and women of HPD and Honda could go with electrification, hybrid technology and 100% renewable fuels.  It epitomizes Honda’s fun-to-drive ethos, showcases electrification and it just rocks our car culture roots and racing heritage!  We present the CR-V Hybrid Racer – aka ‘The HPD Beast’!”

"When the Design Studio learned about this project, we had already established a great relationship with HPD through other projects, including the ACURA ARX-06,” said Dave Marek, executive creative director.  “So this was – pardon the pun – ‘Right in our wheelhouse’.  It became a ‘what if?’ of keeping the CRV as is, but adding some serious attitude with parts indicative of an Indy car. Then it was back to my childhood of never building model cars right out of the box, by manipulating areas with DTM or Japanese Super GT cars in mind. I basically mocked up the idea in 3D then our amazing Digital Modelers made it work.”

Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer Specifications


  • Honda HI23TT 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine
  • Borg Warner EFR7163 turbochargers
  • McLaren Applied Technologies Tag 400i Engine Control Unit
  • Drive-by-wire controlled port throttle
  • Shell 100% renewable race fuel
  • Driver-activated Empel electric motor-generator unit
  • Skeleton supercapacitor energy storage system
  • XTRAC six-speed transmission; Mega-Line Assisted paddle-shift

Chassis and Bodywork

  • Chromoly tube frame chassis
  • New, 6th generation Honda CR-V Hybrid bodywork from the beltline up
  • Standard Honda CR-V Hybrid windshield and greenhouse
  • Custom carbon fibre lower bodywork incorporating flared fenders
  • Butterfly half-cut doors provide access for driver and passenger
  • Radiator adapted by HPD from the Dallara IR-18 Indy car
  • Clamshell rear bodywork to display power unit and drivetrain
  • Custom downforce-producing front splitter and rear wing


  • Front suspension from HPD-developed Acura NSX GT-3 Evo22
  • Rear suspension adapted from Dallara IR-18 Indy car
  • Brembo 380mm front brakes from Acura NSX GT-3 Evo22
  • Brembo 355mm custom rear brakes adapted to Dallara IR-18 suspension
  • Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Ultra-High Performance Summer Tires
  • Front tires 285/35-20; Rear tires a massive 305/35-20
  • 2Elle Engineering 20x10.5 Front and 20x11 Rear two-piece alloy wheels

Take a look at the YouTube video showing off the amazing hybrid-powered Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer that's set for duty in INDYCAR in the future - besides the amazing creation, how cool is the quality of this video you're about to watch: CR-V Hybrid Racer Reveal | Honda

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