Graduate students at Clemson University have just finished the coolest school project ever: a Honda Civic with 600 hp. The students were allowed to build this monstrous Civic with Honda's sponsorship and blessing as well. Called Deep Orange 9, this project took 19 students two years to complete at Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research.
They started with the current Honda Civic sedan and continued from there. Extremely high performance and a reduction in emissions were the two most important goals for the student engineers. It should be as fast as the current rallycross cars, and this Civic certainly does not disappoint. Zero to 60 mph arrives in 2 seconds through a hybrid powertrain, according to the students. The rear axle provides the power of the 2.0-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine, while the front axle is rotated thanks to the electric motor. The engine is in the middle of the car and makes just over 400 horsepower, and the electric motor delivers the extra 200 hp. It seems that the students could be inspired by the new Acura NSX.
Regenerative brakes keep the battery cheering during the races. Overall, fuel consumption has improved by 30 percent thanks to the hybrid powertrain, but it's still a racing car. Good fuel consumption and 600 hp usually do not mix well, but this was a cool attempt to bring a greener powertrain to racing.
The suspension is billed as semi-active, so that it adapts easily to the changing surfaces that can be seen in rallycross. A four-wheel steering system was developed to allow cars to run better in the extremely tight corners that are often seen in rallycross. This electrical system can also absorb energy that has been lost by the wheels, reducing emissions even further.
We have to admit that this thing is pretty sweet. Such student projects are something we need more from.