Honda is getting ready to extend its racing credentials to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race for the first time. The Honda Performance Development team will be fielding two very different offerings at this year’s competitor: the HPD B-Spec Fit, and the HPD Desert Pilot.
The HPD B-Spec Rally Fit is identical to the one Team Honda Research-West showed last year at the 24 Hours of Thunderhill. That car received a full roll cage, new suspension, camber adjusters, brake lines, brake pads, and a less restrictive exhaust to make it race-ready. The Rally Fit will pack the same 1.5-liter inline-four cylinder producing 117 hp and 106 lb-ft. To ready it for Pikes Peak, HPD raised the suspension and added large 205/50R15 R1 tires. Honda R&D engineer James Robinson will take the place behind the wheel at the event, and the B-Spec Rally Fit will be run at rallycross events later this year following its Pikes Peak debut.
Honda’s second entry is the HPD Desert Pilot. Far from a stock Pilot crossover, HPD has built this off-road racer around a tubular space-frame chassis, fitted four-wheel independent suspension with King Shocks, and dressed it in bodywork that replicates a production Pilot. The wheel arches have stretched to cover the 35-inch tires, and the truck wears Baja Design lights. Powering the Desert Pilot is a modified 400-hp version of Honda’s 3.7-liter V-6 — a far cry from the250 hp from the stock 3.5-liter V-6 found in the production vehicle. That engine is mounted midships in the Desert Pilot, smack dab behind the driver — who also is blessed with a central driving position.
Piloting the Desert Pilot will be Gavin Skilton and his California Race and Rally team. Following Pikes Peak, they will go on to race the HPD Pilot in a number of Class 6 off-road races, concluding their seasonwith the Baja 1000in November. The HPD Desert Pilot replaces the CR-R Ridgeline, a previous two-time winner of the Baja 1000.