Roughly 50 Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are presently in the hands of select consumers in the U.S., but one example will apparently be called to motorsports service. Honda announced today that a FCX Clarity will serve as the official pace car for the 2011 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in late March.
This isn’t the first instance where an FCX served as a pace car (one led the field at the 2008 Indy Japan race at the Twin Ring Motegi course), nor is it likely to be the last. Along with pacing the actual Izod IndyCar grand prix itself, the FCX will also serve in a similar function at other events scheduled during the course of the weekend, including the Firestone Indy Lights races, Acura Sports Car Challenge, and the Festival of States Parade.
Will the FCX Clarity have the same performance mettle as other IndyCar pace cars, including the Chevrolet Camaro that will work the Indianapolis 500 in May? Certainly not, but during our previous stints behind the FCX’s wheel, we found the hydrogen-fueled, electric-powered sedan to provide great low-end torque (the result of using an electric motor for propulsion) and brisk acceleration. Seeing as the only notable changes made to the pace car include a swoopy paint job and possibly some strobe lighting, we’d expect the FCX Clarity destined for St. Petersburg to drive identically.
Look for the FCX Clarity to make its debut in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the Festival of States Parade on March 24, and pop up at various race events during the weekend of March 24-25.