Thursday, June 9, 2011

Powered-up Honda CR-Z races into Le Mans ahead of 24-hour contest

The Honda CR-Z will join the Nissan Leaf and a few other alternative-powered cars in the Le Mans Vers Le Futur demonstration preceding Saturday's start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. The demonstration features the potential future of Le Mans, with less noise, less pollution and less cash spent.

The upgraded CR-Z gets a 200-hp version of the 1.5-liter engine, producing 175 lb-ft of torque. It keeps the six-speed manual transmission and the seven-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery of the stock car.

Honda unveiled the competition version of the CR-Z last year at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. Later, it was entered into the 25 Hours of Thunderhill race in San Francisco. The compact CR-Z finished second in its class.

In Europe, the car is used as a pace car for the Speed EuroSeries.

Honda says it developed the car to be tested in race conditions, in part to help solve problems that arise when running a hybrid race car. The CR-Z isn't certified by the FIA, so it will only appear in the prerace festivities.


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