GRANDVILLE, Mich. -- Two teams of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA) associates are set to compete in the 2018 Rebelle Rally, an all-woman off-road navigation challenge, beginning on October 11th in Lake Tahoe, CA. The rally will cover a grueling 1,500 off-road miles of desert and mountain terrain in California and Nevada over the course of eight days, which will test the driving and navigation abilities and endurance of the participating teams, as well as the off-road capability and durability of their Honda vehicles.
HRA product planner Ariel Jen learned of the Rebelle Rally while working on a Honda light truck project, and saw the event as an opportunity. "I love to challenge myself and learn new things and the Rebelle Rally seemed like a perfect opportunity to accomplish both goals," said Jen. "It's a way to learn more about the world of off-roading and trucks and further unite women at Honda to accomplish something amazing."
Honda quickly approved HRA's first-ever participation in the rally, as it would provide project members with valuable growth and knowledge in their R&D roles, as well as demonstrate the durability and reliability of Honda light trucks in extreme conditions.
The rally teams representing Honda consist of two driver/navigator combinations, the "Desert Dreamers" from Torrance, CA comprised of Jen and exterior designer Lili Melikian in a 2019 Honda Pilot, and the "Ridgeline Rebels" from Ohio comprised of engine test engineer Maria Guitar and vehicle safety test engineer Michelle Klein in a 2018 Honda Ridgeline.
The vehicles being used by Honda's Rebelle Rally teams will remain mostly stock, save for light modifications specifically for the event like more aggressive off-road tires, skid plates, auxiliary lights, increased ground clearance for the Pilot and other changes essential for carrying off-road equipment such as jacks and an onboard compressor.
The 2019 Honda Pilot, the company's most popular midsized SUV, was refreshed for the new model year with updated styling, standard Honda Sensing safety and driver assistive features, and major connectivity upgrades. The 2018 Ridgeline, the only available unibody midsized pick-up truck, won the North American Truck of the Year in this generation's first year in 2017. Both vehicles being driven in the Rebelle Rally feature Honda's intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4), which is a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system that also includes the Intelligent Traction Management System (ITM) modes of Normal, Snow, Mud, and Sand that allow the driver to select the AWD parameters best suited for the environment.
Debuting in 2016, the Rebelle Rally was the first women's off-road navigation rally raid in the United States and was created by off-road racing veteran Emily Miller to make this style of racing more accessible to women. Designed to blend demanding driving environments with the precise navigation skill required to reach remote checkpoints, the Rebelle Rally creates the ultimate proving ground for both participants and vehicles alike. "I wanted to create an exciting and challenging experience for women that wasn't branded pink," said Miller. "I feel the Rebelle Rally does just that and serves as a badge of honor participants can be proud of."
The Honda teams participating in the 2018 Rebelle Rally are currently preparing for the challenge, which will take place on October 11th and start in Lake Tahoe, CA.
To learn more about the teams and follow their journey, visit the Rebelle Rally website for live tracking, daily updates, and scoring info as well as team bios!
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