Honda’s getting back into off-road racing on four wheels at this year’s Baja 1000, with a purpose-built twin-turbo buggy! And it just might be wearing the skin of the next Honda Ridgeline pickup truck.
Honda’s last Baja entry was the Honda Performance Development (HPD) Desert Pilot, another insane engine strapped to a frame with a body that vaguely resembled a Pilot SUV wrapped around it. That competed in the 2012 Baja 1000’s Class 6 (unlimited, production mini-trucks). It finished the race in 29 hours, 54 minutes 35 seconds according to Race-Dezert. That was about nine minutes behind their class winner (in a Chevy Colorado) and ten hours behind the fastest Trophy Truck.
The new HPD vehicle is powered by a twin-turbo Honda HR35TT V6 engine, has an Albins ST6 sequential transmission, Fox racing shocks, and General Grabber tires, but no further details have been released other than the fact that Honda’s promising to continue their off-road racing program “into 2016.” All we’ve seen of it so far is a little tease of the engine and frame:
If they’re planning on running in a similar Baja class the vehicle’s potential is, as the name suggests, pretty much “unlimited.” Class 6 is basically Trophy Trucks but for smaller vehicles; there’s no cap on displacement or power output. As long as the engine’s a V6, it can go anywhere on the frame. Which can look... however the builders want.
With the second-generation Honda Ridgeline in the pipeline and the 2015 Baja 1000 still a few months away, I wouldn’t be surprised if the company used this racing initiative to pimp their new pickup truck. I don’t know how much racing technology is going to trickle down, but it’s always exciting to see new entrants in old races.
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