When we think of hybrids econoboxes, we often associate them with fuel efficiency and everything eco-friendly. The last thing on our minds would be racing. Besides, isn’t a pure internal combustion engine better for the race track, especially in endurance racing? Honda wanted to change that mindset of most people by taking the new Fit e:HEV endurance racing.
Honda didn’t build a unique Fit e:HEV to go racing either. It’s a standard road-going model, albeit fitted with a few aftermarket parts to make it competitive on the track. The team participated in a 2-hour endurance race held at the Twin Ring Motegi race track in Japan.
One of the benefits of the Fit e:HEV is that it is fuel-efficient. It uses a 1.5-liter DOHC motor paired with two electric motors that returns 28km/L in city driving. No doubt the team used this to their advantage. During the entire two hours, they didn't need to refuel the little hatchback. As a result, their pit times were relatively shorter compared to other teams. Overall, the drivers managed to finish 11th out of the 31 cars. Not bad, considering they started in 25th and were using a hybrid economy car.
For those that actively compete in endurance racing, a 2-hour race is nothing. However, doing a race in a relatively stock hybrid vehicle intended for city use is a tall order. Honda has proven their point in a mini endurance race. Let's see how they fare in longer stints. That is something we are looking forward to seeing.
As much as we would like to see the new Fit tear up the local race tracks, we won’t be getting them. Honda Cars Philippines (and most parts of ASEAN) succeeded that model with the City Hatchback. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t go racing with the Jazz replacement. Honda does have a one-make race for the City Hatchback, and it looks very interesting.