Toyota LandCruiser becomes ‘World’s Fastest SUV’
Forget about clambering up mountains, Toyota tweaked a LandCruiser to go after the SUV speed record and it did it, becoming the ‘World’s Fastest SUV’.
IN PRODUCTION FOR more than 60 years, the Toyota LandCruiser is now the world’s fastest SUV. The one-off 2000hp LandCruiser set a new SUV speed record of more than 360km/h.
Driven by former Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards (pictured below), the ‘Land Speed Cruiser’ shattered the previous “World’s Fastest SUV” by more than 30km/h. Toyota said, “ With enough track ahead, the Land Speed Cruiser could be expected to go even faster”.
“At Toyota, we like to say ‘Let’s Go Places,’ and the Land Speed Cruiser goes places faster than any SUV before it. This was an aspirational goal that inspired us all,” said Steve Appelbaum, Toyota Motor Sales national engagement marketing manager. “We achieved success by employing the kind of innovative solutions and unyielding determination that have long represented the core of Toyota’s soul.”
“The World’s Fastest SUV record was at 330km/h. That’s extremely fast. Toyota thought, ‘Why don’t we make a really, ultra-powerful Land Cruiser, and let’s just see how fast we can make it go,’” said MTC Manager, Chuck Wade.
Using the Land Cruiser’s production 5.7-litre V8 engine as a starting point, Toyota added a pair of Garrett turbochargers that could deliver over 55psi of boost. To cope with the extreme force induction, the MTC team upgraded the engine’s internals with sturdier pistons and rods and a custom-made intake manifold, among other key items. The role of channeling the power was left to a custom racing transmission.
To aid controllability, the Land Speed Cruiser sits lower and its frame received some massaging in order to maintain optimal suspension geometry, and was narrowed by 3 inches to accommodate wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
Test driver and championship road racer Craig Stanton said: “I wanted the Land Speed Cruiser to provide the confidence you need, as a driver, to keep pushing even when the world around you becomes a high speed blur,” he said. “We made some setup adjustments, and it not only accelerates and shifts more smoothly, but it also has enhanced stability.”
The run was set for Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. In addition to being one of the very few places in the U.S. where supersonic flight is allowed, it features a two-and-a-half-mile paved runway perfectly suited to the Land Speed Cruiser’s mission.
“At 225 mph, 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 230 mph,” Edwards recounted from behind a huge grin after setting the record. “It’s safe to say that this is the fastest SUV on the planet,” recently retired Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards said.