IndyCarOff Road

Hoonigan installs Honda IndyCar engine onto Ridgeline

2 Mins read
Credit: Honda Performance Development

Ever wonder what would happen if you stuck a Honda engine built for NTT IndyCar Series racing into an off-road truck? Us neither, but the hooligans at Hoonigan Racing Division and Honda Performance Development were more than eager to see for themselves.

Honda’s IndyCar teams race using a 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6 engine—officially called the HI12TT/R—that can produce as much as 700 horsepower. By comparison, a stock 2017 Honda Ridgeline sports a 3.5-litre, 28-hp V6 that is part of Honda’s J engine series and has also been used in vehicles like the Acura MDX.

As a mid-sized pickup, the Ridgeline’s racing background is obviously concentrated in the off-road scene. Most notably, Honda Factory Off-Road Racing Team fields the #709 Ridgeline for Jeff Proctor in SCORE International‘s Class 7, which won its category at the 2021 Baja 1000. Appropriately, one of Proctor’s team-mates for that race was IndyCar veteran Alexander Rossi, who became the first Indianapolis 500 winner to win the 1000; for the 2022 race, Proctor will be joined by Richard Glasczak and Chip Prescott.

Of course, the Baja Ridgeline uses the same engine as its production counterpart. Although the 3.5-litre motor has also seen action on pavement like the Acura ARX-05 that won the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (also with Rossi), it obviously pales in comparison to the version used for open-wheel racing.

Hoonigan’s “IndyTruck“, on the other hand, is built for circuit racing and hillclimbs. Revealed at SEMA this past week, HPD provided the equipment including the truck while Hoonigan did much of the dirty work. While it might seem surprising for HPD to happily give away a modern IndyCar engine for such a project, the series is set to switch to a 2.4-l hybrid V6 in 2024 which Honda and rival Chevrolet are focused on developing over the next two years. The Ridgeline was previously utilising by HPD to test new parts before they went into the market.

Although using the Ridgeline as a base, the engine is only capable of fitting into a chassis for vehicles weighing 1,630 lbs (739.3556 kg) like, well, an IndyCar. As such, the Ridgeline was stripped down to the point where just the skeleton remains. Most of the new components come from a 2021 Acura NSX, with the front half being said vehicle while the back is IndyCar-like. By removing the Ridgeline’s meat, the IndyTruck is significantly lighter at just 980 lbs (444.521 kg) versus the Ridgeline’s original 4,500 (2,041.166 kg).

The IndyTruck is a bit of a new foray for the Ken Block-led Hoonigan, who is more associated with rallying and gymkhana though has recently also conducted hillclimbing at Pikes Peak. Block also ran the 2021 Baja 1000 in a Trophy Truck.

Still probably not as crazy as the time they built the Warthog from Halo, though.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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