The Ridgeline Baja Race Truck was unveiled at SEMA earlier this month to serve not only as Honda's new off-road racing platform, but also as a preview for the upcoming second-generation pickup. Technically, it scored a class victory on its race debut in the SCORE Baja 1000. To be fair, it was also the only vehicle in that class.

Though clearly a purpose-built racer, not a modified from showroom stock truck, the Baja truck features bodywork patterned after the forthcoming production model – especially at the front end. It also uses the same block, cylinder heads, and crankshaft as the 3.5-liter V6 that powers the current Ridgeline and will power the upcoming one. In race trim, it's been twin-turbocharged up to 550 horsepower.

Honda Performance Development and Proctor Racing Group entered the custom-built Ridgeline in Class 2 (for forced-induction engines up to 3.6 liters) at the Baja 1000 this past weekend. Driving duties were shared by Honda spokesman Sage Marie and experienced off-road racers Jeff Proctor and Jason LaFortune. They completed the 821-mile loop to and from Ensenada, Mexico, in 25 hours, 9 minutes, and 47 seconds.

That's about ten hours behind the Ford F-150 trophy truck and the Honda CRF450X that won outright, but that's beside the point. It's impressive enough that the truck finished on its debut in such a grueling race under such punishing conditions, even if it didn't have any competition.
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Honda Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Conquers Baja 1000
Nov 22, 2015 - ENSENADA, Mexico

- Off-road racing truck debuts with Class 2 victory
- Completes desert endurance event in first attempt
- Racing machine previews second-generation Honda Ridgeline

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 in this weekend's 48th running of the SCORE Baja 1000.

Built jointly by Honda Performance Development, the North American motorsports 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 due to 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.

"The course was extremely tough today, and it seemed like Baja threw everything it could at us, but the Ridgeline ran flawlessly all day," said Proctor, driver and owner of Proctor Racing Group. "We couldn't be happier with how it performed on its maiden voyage."

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.

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