Honda is hitting the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in this experimental CR-Z with an electric powertrain driving and steering all four wheels up the twisting mountain route. Honda is running a CR-Z at Pikes Peak this year. But as you might have guessed, this is no ordinary CR-Z. This particular racing prototype packs an experimental powertrain.
Though precise technical specifications remain a closely guarded secret at this point, our source at Honda has confirmed a few key details. For starters, the CR-Z racer packs a fully electric powertrain, ditching the 1.5-liter inline-four that forms the internal-combustion component of the street-legal model’s hybrid propulsion system. This contrary to circulating rumors that it could be packing the hybrid powertrain from the new NSX.
Whatever the details of the electric motor (or motors) on board, they’ll be driving and steering all four wheels through Honda’s proprietary Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) systems. The technologies ought to make the CR-Z racer pretty adept at tackling the 156 twists and turns of the world-famous Race to the Clouds. The aero package is obviously pretty aggressive as well, and the bodywork appears to have been modified to an even greater extent than the carbon-fiber prototype we drove in Japan.
Driving duties will be handled by Tetsuya Yamano, a Japanese driver known in the Super GT series (where he won the GT300 title in 2004 in an NSX) and for running Civics in Gymkhana events back in the 90s. It’ll be competing in the Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class, but the idea behind the CR-Z prototype is as much about experimentation as it is about results. The project will serve to train some of Honda’s younger engineers. They won’t be alone on the mountain, though, as Honda also recently announced that it would be fielding its new ARX-04b Le Mans prototype at Pikes Peak this year as well.