Trucks & SUVs

The One Million Dollar Honda Ridgeline That’s Everything

The Honda Ridgeline is a good truck. But a little extra cash and the Honda Performance Development team makes the Ridgeline everything. That is––if you want something that can tackle 1000 miles of unforgiving desert terrain.

The Honda race truck can tackle anything from the heat of the sun to crashing over dunes in the Baja 1000. But what makes it so capable? Here’s What goes into the Ridgeline Baja racer driven by Alexander Rossi.

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline

The race truck that Rossi drove to a second-in-class finish in the 2018 Baja and had to retire in the 2019 race is a beautiful race build of a 2019 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck. It’s nose to tail everything a race truck could dream of being. Rather than being big and boastful, this truck is nimble and tuned down to the last detail.

According to Mac Morrison with AutomobileMag.com, it cost $750,000 dollars to mod out this designated desert dune racer. Add in the $30,000-$50,000 it takes for a tune-up (let’s be real, rebuild) between races and the salaries of the pit crew. It’s easy to see that this 2019 Honda Ridgeline is worth its weight in gold––or about a million dollars.

Is the Ridgeline a good truck?

If I were headed to race in the Baja, I have to say there’s no other truck I’d want to be in. It’s a great truck. And it’s designed to the last detail to be a perfect scamper through some of the most intense terrain ever raced.

The 2019 Ridgeline has been upgraded heavily. If you look at the outside of the truck it’s vaguely reminiscent of the production Honda Ridgeline pickup truck from whence it came, but once you start looking deep you see how different this Baja racing Ridgeline is. Still, they do share DNA.

2019 Honda Ridgeline
2019 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

The twin-turbo V6 that came from Honda Racing Development shares the same block and cylinder head as some familiar favorites: Honda’s production Ridgeline, the Honda Passport, and the Honda Pilot. But this motor, loving called the HR3TT by Honda Racing Development, is paired with a custom Albins 6-speed manual from Australia. Oh yeah, and it generates 550 horsepower.

2019 Honda Pilot in the rocks
2019 Honda Pilot | Honda

RELATED: The Honda Ridgeline Tried Off-Roading and Surprised Everyone

It could do more, but many race builds have to cap at 550 to keep it legal, the Baja Ridgeline racer included. It bounces around in the sand on a custom Fox suspension. Sound familiar? It’s the same company that does the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road suspension. But beefed up for 1000 miles of harrowing race.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline racer

After Alexander Rossi’s brutal crash last year, he and the co-driver kept trucking on quite a while before finally deciding it wasn’t fair to push the pickup truck any farther. When they crashed, they had the class lead. Nothing is confirmed, but my guess is that Rossi still has his eyes on a first-place finish.

Honda Unlimited Ridgeline at 2019 Mint 400
Honda Unlimited Ridgeline at 2019 Mint 400 | Honda

RELATED: Behind the Wheel: Driving the Honda Ridgeline Baja Race Truck

So what about the 2020 Baja 1000? Will he stick to the 2019 Honda Ridgeline racer or will we see him in a new build of the 2020 Honda Ridgeline? All we know is that this Honda pickup in its desert-defeating form is an absolute beast. From blazing light bars to enormous chunky off-road tires, it’s the most capable––and expensive––Honda Ridgeline ever.