Developed by Honda as a preview to the introduction of the new, second-generation Honda Ridgeline, the driving trio of Jeff Proctor, Sage Marie and Jason LaFortune piloted their Ridgeline Baja Race Truck to the Class 2 victory during the 48th running of the SCORE Baja 1000.
Built jointly by Honda Performance Development, the North American motor sports arm of American Honda and the Proctor Racing Group, the tube-frame Unlimited Class 2 off-road Ridgeline Baja Race Truck made its competition debut at the brutal Baja event, which this year consisted of an 821-mile loop that started and finished in Ensenada, Mexico.
Less than half of the 239-competitor starting field finished this year’s Baja event, as limited visibility from fog and dust added to the usual challenges of high-speed desert crossings, technical, rocky mountain trails, silt beds, washes, ditches and jumps throughout the course.
Despite the obstacles and high attrition, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck ran trouble-free, completing the event in 25 hours, nine minutes and 47 seconds.
Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 produced by HPD, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features a body designed by Honda R&D Americas’ Los Angeles Design Studio, with inspiration taken from the next-generation Honda Ridgeline, also being designed and developed by Honda R&D North America. Key design cues drawn from the 2017 Honda Ridgeline can be seen in the front fascia, hood, roof, bed and side profile.
Making approximately 550 horsepower, HPD’s 3.5-liter HR35TT engine uses the same block, cylinder heads and crankshaft as the production V6 engine that will power the all-new Ridgeline. Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.
Honda will introduce an all-new second-generation Ridgeline truck in the first half of 2016. Honda introduced the first-generation Ridgeline in 2005 as a 2006 model. The Ridgeline challenged conventional thinking in pick-up truck design with its boxed frame unibody design, offering superior driving dynamics, fuel efficiency and interior space, in combination with midsize pick-up towing, hauling and off-road capabilities. It also introduced several industry-first features including a dual-action tailgate and lockable In-Bed Trunk. The Ridgeline captured both the 2006 North American Truck of the Year and Motor Trend 2008 Truck of the Year and led all other midsize pickups in JD Power’s APEAL study for three consecutive years.