A heavily modified Toyota LandCruiser has unofficially claimed the title of world’s fastest SUV.
The Land Speed Cruiser was created by the company’s Motorsports Technical Center, and made its debut at the 2016 SEMA show in Las Vegas.
On camera, the Land Speed Cruiser hit a GPS verified top speed of 370.18km/h (230.02mph), breaking the previous record of 340km/h (211mph), set by a Brabus-tuned Mercedes-Benz GLK with a 6.3-litre twin-turbo V12 cranking out 552kW of power and 1349Nm of torque.
The record was set with Carl Edwards, a recently retired NASCAR driver, in the driver’s seat on the 4km long paved runway at the active Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
Speaking after the record setting run, Edwards said: “At 225mph (362km/h), the thing was wandering a little bit. All I could think was that Craig [the project’s test driver] said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230mph.”
Under the bonnet, the car uses a version of the 5.7-litre V8 from the standard Land Cruiser. For this application, it has been fitted with two Garrett turbochargers, said to be the size of volleyballs, producing up to 55psi of boost.
To cope with all that extra pressure, the engine has toughened up internals, and a set of more robust pistons and a unique intake manifold. To deal with the roughly 1500kW of power, the Land Speed Cruiser employs a custom racing transmission.
According to Toyota, creating the engine was the “easy part”. It still needed to ensure the car’s handling was competent at speeds in excess of 320km/h (200mph).
As you can see, the Land Speed Cruiser has dramatically lower suspension, reducing the amount of turbulent air underneath the vehicle. The frame of the vehicle was also narrowed down by 76mm (3.0 inches) in order to accomodate the wide Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
The Land Speed Cruiser is a single-seat vehicle, and features a stripped out interior with a roll cage.
Also published on Medium.