Custom LandCruiser is world’s fastest SUV

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Carl Edwards and Toyota LandCruiser Retired NASCAR driver Carl Edwards and the custom-made Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Carl Edwards and Toyota LandCruiser
Toyota LandCruiser attempting speed record The Land Speed Cruiser making an attempt on the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port Toyota LandCruiser attempting speed record
Toyota Land Speed Cruiser engine This insane donk can push out over 1500kW Toyota Land Speed Cruiser engine

Toyota’s iconic LandCruiser has earned the title of ‘world’s fastest SUV’ after a custom engineered model set record speeds of just over 370km/h in the California desert.


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This was no ordinary LandCruiser. Dubbed the ‘Land Speed Cruiser’, the custom ’Cruiser started life as a stock production model before being heavily modified by a team of engineers at Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Centre (MTC).

"The world’s fastest SUV record was at 211 mph [339.5km/h]," Toyota MTC manager Chuck Wade says.

"That’s extremely fast. Toyota thought, ‘Why don’t we make a really, ultra-powerful LandCruiser, and let’s just see how fast we can make it go?’"

Toyota engineers used the LandCruiser’s production 5.7-litre V8 as a base, and then added a pair of what Toyota says are ‘volleyball-sized’ Garrett turbochargers that are each capable of producing 55psi of boost.

To cope with the extreme force induction, the MTC team upgraded the engine’s internals with sturdier pistons and rods, as well as a custom-made intake manifold. This ensured the engine could safely produce around 1500kW of power.

Making a powerful engine is relatively easy. Designing a car that can handle that power is a different story.

Driving any vehicle at extreme speeds will challenge its aerodynamics and stability, so to aid the Land Speed Cruiser’s controllability the SUV was lowered to reduce the amount of turbulent air flowing underneath.

The frame of the vehicle was altered to maintain optimal suspension geometry and was narrowed by over 70mm to accommodate wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires.

Once the Land Speed Cruiser was ready for its record attempt, the car was taken to Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. There the Toyota team met with recently retired NASCAR driver Carl Edwards who would be making the attempt.

On Edwards first attempt he was able to meet the existing record of 339.5km/h but found himself running out of usable to slow the vehicle down and couldn’t push it further. Adjustments were made to the turbochargers to extract more immediate boost and a second attempt was made.

This next run was the winner, with Edwards putting the hammer down to reach a jaw-dropping 370km/h.

 "At 225 mph [362km/h], the thing was wandering a little bit," Edwards says. "All I could think was that [Toyota test driver] 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."

 

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