Former Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards and the Toyota ‘Land Speed Cruiser’ recently found themselves travelling at 370km/h across the Mojave Desert, breaking the world record for fastest SUV.
With 1490kW at its disposal, the ‘Cruiser needed a 4km stretch of pavement at Mojave Air and Space Port to unleash its full potential.
From the starting point of the project, Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Centre team used the ‘Cruiser’s production 5.7-litre V8 which already produces 283kW.
They then bolted on two “volleyball-sized” Garrett turbochargers capable of 55psi, and strengthened the 3UR-FE’s pistons and rods. They also added a custom-made intake manifold.
Toyota says that to aid control, the Land Speed Cruiser had to be significantly lowered to reduce the amount of turbulent air allowed to pass underneath.
Its frame was also modified to “maintain optimal suspension geometry”, and was narrowed by 3 inches to accommodate wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Center manager Chuck Wade says the decision to undertake the challenge came when Toyota discovered what the previous record was.
“The world’s fastest SUV record was at 211 mph (339.5km/h). That’s extremely fast,” he says.
“Toyota thought, ‘Why don’t we make a really, ultra-powerful LandCruiser, and let’s just see how fast we can make it go.”
Driver Edwards recalls the vehicle sending a few unnerving messages though to him.
“At 225mph, the thing was wandering a little bit. All I could think was that Craig said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230mph (370km/h),” he said.
“It’s safe to say that this is the fastest SUV on the planet.”