Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Honda’s New Baja Race Truck Teases 2017 Ridgeline Styling

Photo Credit: Honda


A fundamental goal of every automaker is to prove the endurance of their vehicles to the public. For the toughest vehicles hoping to make an impression with customers, the SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race across the terrain of a Mexican desert is among the most gruelling. A race that has been won by Ford Broncos, Chevrolet trucks and a Volkswagen-powered Meyers Manx, Toyota trucks were also some of the victorious vehicle entrants who inherit some impressive bragging rights to sell their trucks to buyers.

Along with measuring the integrity of production-based trucks as well as race-purpose buggies, major auto manufacturers have also found the Baja 1000 event as a proving ground for new ideas. In 2013, Ford tested their2.7-liter EcoBoost powerplant in the competition as an extreme field test ahead of availability on the 2015 Ford F-150. Later this month, Honda will compete with a prelude to their next Ridgeline pickup truck.  

After a two-year absence, the Honda Ridgeline is scheduled for a return for the 2017 model year. Ahead of the premiere of the production version of the next generation Ridgeline, attendees at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas are being treated to a peek at the new truck. Wearing red, white and black Honda livery, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck promotes some showroom relevant elements. Though the vehicle set to compete in the unlimited class is a purpose-built desert racing vehicle built on a tube-frame chassis, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck is said to feature several nods to the upcoming 2017 return of the street version of the utility vehicle.


Photo Credit: Honda



According to Honda, the Baja off-road racing truck carefully replicates the front fascia, hood, red and side profile. You can detect headlights similar to the 2016 Pilot as well as what appears to be a more defined, squarer bed compared to the previous generation Ridgeline. "While this race truck is unique and different from the production Ridgeline, it does a nice job of expressing not only our styling direction but also the fact that the Ridgeline, for all its unique qualities, has been and will continue to be a pickup with true truck capability." said president of Honda Performance Development Art St. Cyr.

The Honda Ridgeline Baja Race Truck performance is sourced from a 3.5 twin-turbocharged HR35TT engine prepared by Honda Performance Development (HPD). Producing up to 550 horsepower, the HPD six-cylinder powerplant incorporates components to be found in the 2017 Honda Ridgeline’s engine. The engine block, cylinder heads and crankshaft are intended for use in the upcoming production truck.


Photo Credit: Honda



For the 2015 Score Baja 1000, Honda is teaming up with Proctor Racing Group to build the special Ridgeline in pursuit of the auto brand’s first overall victory in an automobile class (Car or Truck). On two wheels, Honda has a more storied history on the Baja California desert that predates the running of the organized off-road event. In 1962, a Honda CL72 Scrambler was torture-tested in a manner that earned kudos for the motorcycle as well as the course. In the Baja 1000, Honda motorcycles have 25 wins including 18 scored in a consecutive fashion from 1996 to 2013.

The desert racing-prepared 2017 Honda Ridgeline will be competing in the 48th SCORE Baja 1000 from November 19th to the 21st.

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