Honda Made A CR-V With More Horsepower Than A Lamborghini, But It's No Gimmick

Earlier this month, Honda Performance Development teased a race car that's very different from your usual go-fast fare from a major automaker. It wasn't a souped up Civic or another NSX. It was none other than the humble CR-V, a crossover you're more likely to see in the parking lot of a grocery store than leaving tire marks on IndyCar tracks. According to Honda, this one-off CR-V, through the power of still-in-development hybrid technology, has north of 800 horsepower. 

For comparison, a Lamborghini Aventador Invencible Coupe produces a healthy 769 horsepower from its 6.5-liter V12. You may think that Honda just slapped a high-strung big motor in a CR-V and called it a day. But Honda put a lot more thought into this project than the phrase "800 horsepower CR-V" may suggest. In addition to making a family hauler with the ability to blow the doors off a supercar, this CR-V has more than a few tricks up its sleeve that may allow Honda to make huge advances in hybrid and electrification technology.

Honda's hybrid beast

At the heart of the car is an IndyCar motor, specifically Honda's HI23TT twin-turbocharged 2.2-liter V6. It runs on a special renewable fuel blend made by Shell. The electric motors are fed power not by a battery, but by a set of huge capacitors supplied by Skeleton that can dump electricity into the motors when racing needs are particularly strenuous. 

In the back of the car, the suspension components are lifted right off a Honda IndyCar and the front suspension is from an Acura NSX GT3. Aesthetically, it looks like a CR-V, and it does share some components like the windshield and some bodywork with its civilian namesake, but inside its a chromoly tube frame chassis and carbon fiber as far as the eye can see. It's about 75% racecar and 25% grocery getter.

Overall, the car has more purpose than just looking cool for a few wacky TikTok and YouTube videos. It will serve as Honda Performance Development's testbed for electrification technology for the future. In this current configuration, it's an uber-hybrid, but its modular frame allows Honda to experiment with different drivetrain layouts should the brand develop different race or EV tech in the future.

David Salters, the president of and technical director of Honda Performance Development, said about the CR-V: "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."

The CR-V Racer will make its debut at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida on the weekend of March 3-5, 2023.