Prior to its full reveal this fall, the all-new 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport will make its competition debut at the 2022 Rebelle Rally, an extremely challenging eight-day competition through the unforgiving desert conditions of the American Southwest from October 6-15. With its standard all-terrain tires, steel skid plates, raised off-road tuned suspension, expanded all-wheel drive system capabilities, full-size spare, and front and rear recovery points, the unmodified 3-row SUV will be the first Honda to take on the all-women off-road navigation event in the Bone-Stock category.
This is the fourth year Honda is participating in America’s longest off-road rally, which begins at Nevada’s Lake Tahoe and finishes more than 1,500 miles later at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Southern California. Driving the early production Pilot TrailSport will be two Ohio-based Honda associates: Liz Long, a chassis reliability test engineer at Honda’s North American Auto Development Center, and Hillary Tate, a project administrator of design and construction for Honda facilities across North America.
Competing as “The Co-Pilots #208” in the X-Cross class, Long and Tate will put the capability, durability and handling of the Honda Pilot TrailSport to the test over 10-12 hours of off-road driving per day. The duo is competing as part of the Honda of America Racing Team (HART), a unique racing program run entirely by Honda associates throughout the United States.
“The all-new Honda Pilot TrailSport has been tested on challenging terrain all over the country, and we can’t wait to showcase its rugged capabilities in one of America’s most demanding off-road competitions,” said Long. “We’ve engineered the Pilot TrailSport to perform in these environments, and we’re excited to hit the trail.”
Honda engineers have used the challenging conditions of the Rebelle Rally to further explore the rugged performance of off-road components. The custom-fabricated oil pan and fuel tank steel skid plates applied to previous Rebelle Rally competition vehicles – including the team’s 2021 Honda HPD Ridgeline – are similar in design to those that will be standard equipment on the mass-production 2023 Pilot TrailSport.
The special Rebelle Rally wrap applied to the Pilot was designed by Honda exterior designer Lili Melikian to celebrate the ruggedness of the all-new Pilot TrailSport. Inspired by pixel art, the wrap draws connections to the TrailSport logo and Californian landscape with a mountainous design, while portions of the sky represent the all-new and Pilot TrailSport-exclusive Diffused Sky Blue color. The sun on the hood signifies a full day of adventure from sunrise to sunset.
The Rebelle Rally is a unique event where teams strategically navigate the rugged terrain without the assistance of GPS or cellular navigation. Instead, teams rely on traditional elements of paper maps, compasses, and headings to navigate to hidden checkpoints, with the goal of accruing the most points and reaching the finish line each day.
The next-generation Pilot and Pilot TrailSport will be fully unveiled this fall.