Honda Announces 2024 Electric Racing Plans

Honda has announced it will enter the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup in 2024 as a factory effort with its prototype electric dirt bike

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HRC’s electric racing ambitions will reach the world stage for the first time in 2024, as Honda enters a factory team in the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup.

The team will make use of the Honda CR Electric Proto motorcycle, which made its race debut late last year in the All-Japan Motocross Championship, ridden by the American Trey Canard.

Canard, HRC’s factory test rider for its AMA SuperMotocross World Championship team, is not featured on Honda’s E-Xplorer roster, which instead features Tosha Schareina and Francesca Nocera. Like the four-wheeled Extreme E (now Extreme H after swapping electric for hydrogen power), the E-Xplorer World Cup mandates each team fields both a man and a woman in its rider line-up.

Schareina is an established member of Honda’s factory rally programme, which he joined last year, and he won the Prologue of this year’s Dakar Rally before crashing out on the first stage.

Nocera, on the other hand, seven-time Italian Champion, with four motocross titles and three in the enduro discipline, meaning she is well-versed in a variety of off-road disciplines and scenarios.

Previously, E-Xplorer has only consisted of one class, but it will be split into the premier Hyperbike and secondary GT classes in 2024. The GT class bikes adhere to a maximum weight of 112kg, with the bikes being racing machines derived from production models. On the other hand, Hyperbike allows prototype machines to compete, with what E-Xplorer calls “standard MX wheelbase” and battery capacity capped at 7kWh. Both Schareina and Nocera will compete in the Hyperbike class, whose race format consists of three, 10-minute races followed by a number of “play-off” relays for the four top teams.

Tosha Schareina said: “It’s incredible really from the Sonora Rally last year where I got my first works Honda bike, the CRF450 Rally, then to have become a works rider for the Dakar, and now to be a works rider on the CR Electric Proto.

“I know the team well and feel very comfortable with them, and we work very well together. The challenges of E-Xplorer are of course very different, but I am looking forward to adapting and to getting on the electric machine alongside Francesca. 

“The series is new but already the CR Electric Proto showed it was capable of matching the performance of the petrol bikes so I think it’s an exciting time to be working with HRC on developing such a capable electric machine.”

Francesca Nocera added: “I have won a number of titles in Italian motocross, and recently have come back to enduro and finished third in the world last year, so for me to be able to blend the two disciplines is very exciting. 

“I am riding the Honda CRF in the World Enduro Championship and the CR Electric Proto in E-Xplorer so will have a very good feeling of how these two versions of the machine, and the electric and internal combustion worlds, compare and I am very excited to get to racing it. We have a great and proven team, the bike is clearly strong, and Tosha will be a great teammate, so I am feeling confident in this new adventure.”

Koji Watanabe, HRC President, said: “As Honda’s commitment to carbon neutrality grows in importance, HRC has decided to enter the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup, a new category of electric off-road motorcycle racing in motorcycle motorsports. By taking on the challenge of a new electric motorcycle racing series, HRC will hone its technology in a real-world setting, accumulate know-how and knowledge, and further accelerate the development of human resources. We hope you will look forward to Honda’s efforts.”

Honda’s home round, in Osaka, Japan, will kick-off the five-round 2024 FIM E-Xplorer World Cup on 16-17 February. The series will also feature factory teams from Sur-Ron and the French trials bike manufacturer, Electric Motion.

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