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Honda returns to off-road racing with powerful V6

Baja 1000 scheduled for debut of twin-turbo V6 in undisclosed vehicle

Joe Duarte
Published: August 28, 2015, 5:00 AM
Updated: August 29, 2015, 5:00 PM

Honda twin-turbo HR35TT V6 from HPD.

Honda is returning to off-road racing with an undisclosed vehicle powered by a twin-turbo V6.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Honda Performance Development (HPD), the division involved in the development of engines and chasses for Honda’s various American motorsports programs, and will debut at the end of the 2015 series at the SCORE Baja 1000. The factory four-wheel off-road racing program will continue through 2016, at least.

Honda teased an image of the twin-turbo Honda HR35TT V6, a boosted 3.5-litre V6 that most recently has been involved in prototype road racing (debuting at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2014), where it reportedly makes close to 600 hp. The engine has also been involved in the Pike Peaks Hill Climb and Japan’s Super GT Championship. A production version of the engine will also be used in the highly-anticipated Acura NSX, in which it will get further boost from an electric motor.

An Albins six-speed sequential automatic will also be part of the racing package, as will Fox racing shocks. Not much is known about the unlimited off-road race vehicle, which runs on General Grabber tires, but speculation is that it will use the Ridgeline bodystyle because Honda is readying the next-generation Ridgeline for introduction.

Honda last completed the 1,000-mile race in 2012, with a Pilot in Class 6 (an unlimited class for production vehicles with six-cylinder engines). Ridgeline would likely be an ideal choice to go against Ford’s EcoBoost powered pickups, which compete in the class.

More information is promised before the 1,000-mile race on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, scheduled for November 19-21 to wrap up the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship.