Honda Crammed a 2024 IndyCar Engine in a CR-V to Create 'The HPD Beast'

Photo:  Honda
Photo: Honda

The times they are a-changing in motorsport as hybrid and electric power continue to take over. Not wanting to be left behind, IndyCar will finally make the switch to hybrid power starting in 2024. Ahead of IndyCar’s electrification, Honda wanted to show off its new hybrid powertrain in the best way it knew: a race-ready CR-V, of course.

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Honda teased this track-ready CR-V Hybrid beast earlier this month, announcing that engineers at Honda Performance Development (HPD) were working on an 800-horsepower SUV. Now, the covers have come off the finished product.

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Photo:  Honda
Photo: Honda

Honda says the winged-and-flared crossover is effectively a rolling lab for the automaker’s new hybrid IndyCar powertrain. This means that the familiar CR-V body now contains Honda’s 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6, coupled to an Empel electric motor-generator unit and a Skeleton supercapacitor energy storage system, all sitting behind the driver in place of the rear seats and trunk. Yep: IndyCar power in a family crossover. That’s bonkers.

According to early estimates, the new hybrid powertrain kicks out more than 800 hp combined. By the time the engine is ready to race in the 2024 IndyCar season, that number could be close to 900 hp.

Photo:  Honda
Photo: Honda

“This project vehicle is an Indycar ‘beast’ in Honda CR-V ‘sheep’s clothing’,” David Salters, president and technical director for Honda Performance Development, said in a press release. “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 percent 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’!”

Photo:  Honda
Photo: Honda

To create this new beast, Honda did more than just stuff an additional 600 hp into a CR-V Hybrid. Sure, the greenhouse, windshield and upper body panels on the show car have remained stock, but the rest of the vehicle has been heavily modified.

Engineers at HPD snuck a full custom tube frame under the CR-V, and all the bodywork below the beltline is custom carbon-fiber. The HPD Beast gets the front suspension from an Acura NSX GT-3 Evo22 race car, and the rear suspension straight out of a current-generation Indy car. To cool that twin-turbo V6, the CR-V even uses an Indy car’s radiator.

Photo:  Honda
Photo: Honda

When all that power needs to be brought to a halt, a set of Brembo disc brakes does the heavy lifting. Up front is a pair of 15-inch rotors from the Acura NSX race car, while the rear has custom 14-inch rotors.

That custom bodywork gives the CR-V aggressive fender flares and all manner of aerodynamic tricks to keep it planted when it goes full tilt, including an enormous rear wing and front splitter.

It’s a pretty formidable machine that sounds like it’ll be quite the spectacle to see on track, which is exactly where Honda plans to take this rolling lab. According to the automaker, the CR-V racer will make its debut at IndyCar’s season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida, before appearing at seven future Indycar meets.

Here’s the full list of races where the Honda HPD Beast will appear. Go check it out for yourself — maybe it’ll inspire you to do something wild with your own family hauler.

  • Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida: March 3rd to 5th

  • Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: April 14th to 16th

  • Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix: April 28th to 30th

  • Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio: June 30th to July 2nd

  • Honda Indy Toronto: July 14th to 16th

  • Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville: August 4th to 6th

  • Grand Prix of Portland: September 1st to 3rd

  • Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey: September 8th to 10th

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