“Fast” and “hybrid” are words that once were not associated with each other. Now hybrid tech is being seen as a performance advantage, which is why Formula 1,000 organizers asked a Honda Insight to bow out for being too fast.
The car in question is the OakTec Honda Insight rally car, which has been competing in the Formula 1000 rally series since 2005 and captured the Class A championship in 2006. Aside from running game on rally racing, OakTec is also working on bio-fuels based on cow manure. The Insight raised quite a few eyebrows when it first entered, though the competition suited the Insight well. Formula 1000 is a racing series for cars powered by engines no bigger than 1,000 cc liter in size, so the Insight with its 67 horsepower 995 cc engine snuck in under the rules, despite the advantage of also having a 13 horsepower electric motor that could provide up to an extra 36 ft-lbs of torque.
That extra power was going to good use, especially this season. After the first three races, the OakTec Insight had taken home two first place finishes, and finished second in the only race they didn’t outright win. That put OakTec 19 points ahead of the competition, completely dominating the rankings to the point where Formula 1000 organizers asked the OakTec team to drop out of the series. Graciously thanking Formula 1000 for the chance to race, OakTec bowed out without a fuss. Point proven, if you ask me, though I would have liked to see the team be allowed to finish out the season.
Might this open up more racing options for hybrid car drivers? Maybe even a racing series strictly for hybrids? Once, such a notion would have made me laugh, but I don’t think the competition was laughing when a hybrid Honda trounced them soundly. Kind of makes me want to go a hybrid for the sole purpose of racing it. How about you?
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.