Ridgeline Baja Race Truck Opens 2018 Season With Class Victory in Arizona
The Honda Off-Road Racing Team and its Ridgeline Baja Race Truck opened the 2018 off-road racing season in the best possible fashion, with a decisive victory in the “7200” class for V6-powered race trucks in Saturday’s Parker 425. A part of the Best In the Desert Racing Association off-road racing series, the Parker 425 features three laps of a rugged course through the southwestern Arizona desert. Each lap presents competitors with wide-ranging conditions, from sand washes and rough rock sections to wide-open rally roads.
Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 produced by Honda Performance Development, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features a body designed by Honda R&D Americas’ Los Angeles Design Studio, with inspiration taken from the current Honda Ridgeline, which was also designed and developed by Honda R&D North Americas. 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 powers the all-new Ridgeline. Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.
Starting fourth in a field of 11 Class 7200 V6 trucks, driver/team principal Jeff Proctor and navigator Evan Weller ran at a rapid pace on the opening lap, gaining two positions in the first 30 miles, then moving into the lead by race mile 80. After their first scheduled pit stop for fuel and rear tires, Proctor and Weller finished the first lap with a 4.5-minute lead on the field.
Although the course began to deteriorate throughout the late afternoon and into the night hours, the Ridgeline continued to widen its gap over the Class 7200 field. At the end of the second lap, Proctor turned over driving duties to Pat Daily during the team’s final scheduled pit stop. Daily continued to build a now substantial lead for the Ridgeline, all the while conserving equipment during a brutal third and final lap. The Honda Ridgeline Baja Race Truck crossed the finish line in a time of eight hours, 54 minutes, one hour and 15 minutes ahead of the second-place Class 7200 truck.