A Toyota Land Cruiser with a 5.7-litre V8 petrol engine modified to deliver around 1500kW via a special race transmission has become the world’s fastest SUV.
The so-called Land Speed Cruiser was built by Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Centre in the US. It sprinted to an unofficial but GPS-verified top speed of 370.18km/h (230.02mph.
The previous record was 340km/h (211mph) set by a Brabus-tuned Mercedes-Benz GLK with a twin-turbo 6.3-litre V12 generating 552kW of power and 1349Nm of torque.
Former NASCAR driver Carl Edwards was at the wheel of the Toyota on a 4km-long runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, a working airport.
He said after the record run: “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.”
The Land Speed Cruiser is a single-seat vehicle, with a stripped out interior and roll cage. It uses a version of the 5.7-litre engine from the standard US-spec Land Cruiser, but with toughened-up internals. It was fitted with two Garrett turbochargers, said to be the size of volleyballs to produce up to 55psi of boost.
Engineers lowered the Land Cruiser to reduce the amount of turbulent air underneath the vehicle. The frame was also narrowed down by 76mm in order to accomodate the wide Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.