A Toyota Land Cruiser is the last thing that one would expect to clock 230 mph to claim the title of the World’s Fastest SUV. Oh, and they insist on calling it the Land Speed Cruiser.
The Toyota Land Cruiser can cross deserts, ford rivers, climb mountains and drive through and over almost anything that nature throws at it. It can also bring the entire soccer team from school in one run. How about being supercar-fast? No, that’s something for the tuned Porsche Cayennes and BMW X5s. That’s where we were wrong and the Toyota Land Speed Cruiser (Saw what they did with the name?) exists purely to let us know that with the right modifications the tough, off-roader can be a land-based ballistic missile.
Don’t bother pulling out your checkbooks. This one-off Toyota Land Cruiser (or Land Speed Cruiser) isn’t for sale. The bespoke SUV was built to rock SEMA 2016 and it did a terrific job there. The show-goers couldn’t digest the very idea of a Land Cruiser being capable of clocking the then-claimed top whack of 220 mph. But it still managed to get everyone interested as the 2,000 hp of power on tap was not to be dismissed off.
Toyota had to prove their claims of having built a blisteringly-fast SUV and that’s just what they did recently.
They took a retired NASCAR driver – Toyota’s very own Carl Edwards – to the best strip of controlled, straight tarmac that they could find in California and let those two have a go at chasing records. The Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California was ready to be the place where the World’s Fastest SUV will take its rightful place on the throne. The two-and-a-half-mile runway was perfect for the insanity to unfold.
What we liked a lot about the Toyota Land Speed Cruiser’s interiors was that large speedometer, right there in the middle of the dashboard.
Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Center had extensively modified the stock production Land Cruiser so that the purpose-built machine can both produce and survive the sheer wrath of 2,000 hp. From the chassis to the engine, the SUV was strengthened, upgraded and reinforced to take the beating. It has a pair of volleyball-sized Garrett turbochargers for god’s sake and those things force feed air into the engine as if there is no tomorrow.
It had to be prepared cope with the loads of stress that the power equivalent of two Bugatti Veyrons is going to release on it. A custom racing transmission was drafted in since the manner and scale of horsepower output made standard gearboxes useless in managing the power delivery.
The next concern was to keep the Land Speed Cruiser from losing its poise at the projected high speeds, which by the way were going to be above 220 mph. The engineers lowered the SUV, thereby reducing the chances of intense airflow under the vehicle. Wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires were given the task of maintaining contact with the tarmac.
Before Carl Edwards took over, factory test driver and championship road racer Craig Stanton did a warm-up lap which saw the Land Speed Cruiser reaching a mighty impressive 198 mph. Stanton had been testing the vehicle at Toyota’s Arizona Proving Ground which in turn helped the engineers in getting things right. Driving the machine right before the big moment was indeed something which the man had to do.
Right after that, the designated driver took over. On his first attempt, Edwards managed to push the Land Speed Cruiser to 211 mph, before he ran out of road. Toyota’s boffins brought out their gear, chanted some spells and asked Edwards to have a go at it again. This time, the NASCAR driver went all in and with the added boost, the Toyota Land Speed Cruiser shattered the 230 mph barrier registering a top speed of 230.02 mph.
There you go people, the World’s Fastest SUV is a Toyota Land Cruiser.
Alright, alright, it’s the “Toyota Land Speed Cruiser”!
Toyota says that if they had a bigger runway, the 2,000 hp rocket would have gone faster. Does anyone know where the runway in Fast & Furious 6 is located?