Honda has a redesigned CR-V on sale in 2023, but the version shown here won’t be in showrooms.

It’s a one-off build developed by Honda Performance Development as both a promotional tool and a rolling lab.

Called the CR-V Hybrid Racer, it’s built around a custom frame and features a new hybrid powertrain developed by Honda for IndyCar. The open-wheel range will be introduced with a hybrid powertrain in 2024.

The powertrain combines Honda’s current twin-turbocharged 2.2-liter V-6 IndyCar engine with a driver-activated Empel motor-generator. Instead of storing electrical energy in batteries, the device relies on skeletal supercapacitors. Also borrowed from IndyCar is the Xtrac 6-speed sequential transmission.

Peak power is estimated at around 800 horsepower. By comparison, the regular CR-V Hybrid with its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and Honda’s two-motor hybrid system makes a combined 204 horsepower.

From the outside, the CR-V Hybrid Racer looks a lot like a regular CR-V that’s been slammed. Everything from the waistline up is actually the original CR-V, including the steel bodywork, windows, and even the sunroof. Beneath that, though, is a custom carbon composite shell with flared fenders and butterfly half-cut doors.

Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer Concept

The CR-V Hybrid Racer will make its debut at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida from March 3-5. The race is the first round of the 2023 IndyCar season. The concept car will be featured in some additional IndyCar rounds, and in some cases on the track.

While the production CR-V won’t feature a powertrain like the Indycar setup, the popular compact crossover will get a new powertrain. Honda confirmed plans for a CR-V with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain last fall.

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