Like the headline says, the Toyota Land Cruiser reached a top speed of 230 mph (370 kph)… and the McLaren and Jaguar’s top speed were actually achieved back in 1993 when I left Japan - 24 years ago.
To do 231 mph, it is obvious that the Toyota Land Cruiser would have to be seriously hopped up, and it is - with 2,000 HP, a vehicle that Toyota calls tongue-in-cheek the Land Speed Cruiser. The previous high-speed for an SUV was 211 mph (340 kph).
While the McLaren has since reached a top-speed of 241 mph(388 kph), the 230 mph achieved by the Land Cruiser is for an SUV… well… stupendous.
The eye-watering run was achieved by Carl Edwards, a recently-retired NASCAR driver, hitting the top speed on a 2.5 mile (4-km) runway at Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
My thinking is that one could simply strap a jet engine onto the vehicle and hope it stays nose down… but apparently one has to do some real engineering to achieve safe speeds like this.
Toyota Motorsports placed two large Garrett turbochargers to Land Cruiser's 5.7-liter V8, then added a custom racing transmission. They then reinforced the engine construction to handle the monstrous power boost.
The suspension was lowered to help prevent the SUV's high construction from interfering with its speed ambitions—too much air getting under the vehicle would also be bad at the high speeds wanted. .
The chassis was then altered to work with the new suspension, and finally Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires were added.
I don’t know why he was needed (no offense), but Toyota test driver and race car champion Craig Stanton took the SUV onto the track to test it out and to warm it up. He didn’t quite hit 200 mph (320 kph), but that wasn’t the plan anyway.
Pitting, Edwards crawled in and on his first run tied the old record with a top speed of 211-mph.
Edwards and the crew felt the car could have reached a higher speed if there was more track room at the airport, so technicians boosted the car’s power to get more speed faster.
On his second run, Edwards reached 230 mph, but again ran out of road—BEFORE it hit its projected top speed.
"At 225 mph, the thing was wandering a little bit. All I could think was that Craig said, 'No matter what, just keep your foot in it,' and we got 230 mph," Edwards says. "It's safe to say that this is the fastest SUV on the planet."
Andrew AJ Foyt Joseph