Honda expands its presence in off-road motorsport with a special build.

Honda has a long history of motorsport, achieving remarkable success in various disciplines. While the Japanese behemoth will be withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of this season, it still has a lot of other projects on the go that will aim to showcase its prowess in competition. For example, the Honda Ridgeline will enter the 2021 Rebelle Rally, and now Honda has announced that the Passport SUV will also be going rallying.

A specially-built vehicle created and raced by Honda Performance Development (HPD) Maxxis Rally Team debuted over the weekend at the Lake Superior Performance Rally.

off-road
off-road

Impressively, this rally vehicle retains the factory spec powertrain and suspension components of a regular Passport, but Honda feels confident in the capabilities of its SUV, despite the fact that the modified street vehicles competing in the American Rally Association series reach speeds of “well over 100 mph on natural-terrain closed courses that include gravel, dirt, mud, and snow over routes covering hundreds of miles.”

Obviously, the vehicle requires some modifications, so it gets BRAID Winrace T rally wheels in a 17×7.5-inch sizing. These are wrapped in Maxxis RAZR M/T or A/T tires depending on the conditions of each event.

off-road
off-road

To keep critical components safe, a custom aluminum oil pan and rear differential skid plates are fitted to the underbody along with high-density polyethylene panels that cover the fuel tank and other areas. Carbotech XP12 brake pads and high-performance brake fluid ensure reliable stopping power. As for performance, the standard 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 and nine-speed automatic transmission remain unchanged, as do the all-wheel-drive system and all suspension components. The only change here is the addition of a transmission fluid cooler, which is available with the production Passport's optional tow package.

“The fact that we didn’t have to make any modifications to the 2022 Honda Passport’s drivetrain or suspension for such punishing terrain and competition speaks volumes to the capability and performance that comes standard in the Passport,” says Honda engineer and racer Chris Sladek.

off-road
off-road

Inside, safety is bolstered through a set of OMP racing seats with six-point competition harnesses, a roll cage, and a fire suppression system. Other changes to the cabin include a rally computer and in-car communication system, along with the removal of the rear seats, carpeting, sound insulation, and trim pieces. The side and rear windows were also replaced with Lexan polycarbonate to further reduce weight, while a hydraulic handbrake was fitted for easier vehicle rotation in tight corners. A modified exhaust enhances the sound of the V6, while a custom wrap designed by HPD completes the look.

As for results from the weekend, the Honda team finished 22nd out of 42 regional competitors and achieved a 4th place finish in the Limited 4WD class of six competitors.

off-road
off-road

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