Toyota sets a land speed record with a twist.
It’s been 25 years since we saw blurry footage of Andy Wallace doing 374km/h in a McLaren F1 at Volkswagen’s private test track in Ehra-Lessien, Germany . Back then speeds over 340km/h were unheard of, bar Jaguars XJ220 supercar and highly-modified, once-off cars built specifically to beat records.
Fast forward to 2017, and Toyota have decided to set a land speed record with a difference, by building a once-off 1500kW SUV. The Toyota Land Speed Cruiser clocked a scarcely believable 370km/h to claim the title for “World’s fastest SUV” and beating the old record by more than 30km/h.
Piloting the car was NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, who gleefully laments: “At 225 mph, the thing was wandering a little bit. All I could think was that Craig (the engineer) said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230 mph.”
The Land Speed Cruiser was lowered and the suspension was tweaked for optimal geometry and stability. The SUV suspension was also made narrower so that Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres could be squeezed under the bodywork.
“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.
The record-breaker is equipped with the production 5.7-litre V8 engine, with two Garrett turbochargers that boost to an incredible 3.8 bar boost! Engine internals were upgraded with forged pistons, and the intake had to be strengthened to cope with the insane boost pressure. The car was fitted with a custom racing gearbox, as well as many other trick bits to handle the gargantuan power gains.
Given more track, the Land Speed Cruiser is said to be able to go even faster. But for now, 370km/h will do.