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230mph Toyota claims fastest SUV title

NASCAR driver sets record in modified Land Cruiser.

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Toyota is claiming the title of the world’s fastest SUV after a specially-built Land Cruiser clocked up more than 230mph.

The ‘Land Speed Cruiser’ was driven by former Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, smashing the previous record by 19mph during runs on the 2.5-mile runway at the Mojave air and space port in California, USA.

The major modification to the Land Cruiser was to the 5.7-litre V8 engine offered in US versions of the SUV. While its 386hp is far in excess of the 177hp available in UK models, it was comprehensively uprated. Two enormous Garrett turbochargers were added, boosting peak power to more than 2000hp.

Other modifications included the addition of a purpose-built racing transmission, while to accommodate purpose-designed suspension wider Michelin tyres the frame was narrowed by three inches. Aerodynamic improvements, meanwhile, improved dropping the entire car closer to the ground.

Supersonic runway

Development testing was carried out by Toyota test driver and championship road racer Craig Stanton at the brand’s Arizona Proving Ground, and he made the initial runs at Mojave, achieving 198mph. Edwards then took over for the record runs on the runway built for supersonic aircraft. His first run clocked 211mph, but he found himself running out of space to slow the Land Cruiser down.

Dialling in more boost enabled the 230mph run and the NASCAR driver believed he could have gone faster with more runway available. “At 225 mph, the thing was wandering a little bit,” Edwards said. “All I could think was that Craig said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230mph. It’s safe to say that this is the fastest SUV on the planet.”

Toyota Land Cruiser LSR
NASCAR driver Carl Edwards was impressed by the modified Land Cruiser

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.