Back in April, we told you that Simon Pagenaud, now IndyCar’s latest first-time winner, would be suiting up for Honda at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30. But at that time, we didn’t know what the Frenchman would be driving in the famous event.
You’d think a guy like Pagenaud would be a shoe-in for some sort of Honda or Acura sports car. But the Honda camp had something unique in mind for him: A highly-modified Honda Odyssey mini-van (pictured) for the race’s ‘Exhibition’ category.
This particular vehicle has several elements that will make it stand out from its fellow Odysseys. Chief among them is its turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 engine that can crank out a robust 532 horsepower. A six-speed transmission and limited-slip differential borrowed from the Acura TL line will also be on the vehicle, as well as a competition roll cage and racing suspension and brakes.
“This is something I’m really looking forward to,” Pagenaud said in a Honda statement earlier this week. “I’ve done a little bit of rallying in France, and I used to watch highlights of the Pikes Peak race on television as a kid.
“Our entry will be unique, to say the least! A Honda Odyssey with power similar to an IndyCar will raise some eyebrows for sure! But with the preparation it is getting from Team Honda Research, it will be a proper race car, and I’m very excited about it.”
Pagenaud’s Odyssey will be one of two ‘Exhibition’ vehicles that Honda will enter at Pikes Peak. In all, the manufacturer is fielding 11 vehicles across nine different classes.
Photo courtesy of Honda Racing/HPD