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The star of the Toyota stand at SEMA this year was a lowly crossover SUV. OK, not a stock crossover SUV. This one was a one-off creation that was about as built as built can be. The team stripped the interior and festooned the exterior with aerodynamic add-ons that are fully functional. The rear wing, for instance, manufactures 300 pounds of downforce at 120 mph. There is fabrication everywhere you look.

“We wanted to know what we would have to do to legitimately be a supercar killer,” said Dan Gardner, whose DG-Spec built this car, as well as the Sienna R-Tuned minivan that wowed SEMA two years ago.

Unlike the Sienna, the CH-R R-Tuned has both a Toyota engine and a transmission. But, as you might guess, neither is stock.

“A big part of the work was figuring out the motor and trans swap, packaging, engine wiring, chassis harness stuff,” said Gardner. “We went from the stock 2.0L with a CVT to a Toyota 2AZ-FE 2.4-liter that has forged internals, along with a Toyota E-Series five-speed manual with treated internals, but all stock parts, except the LSD.” The finished engine makes 600 hp, Gardner said.

The CUV also has: Brembo racing brakes with 14-inch rotors and four-piston calipers, triple-adjustable DG-Spec Motion Control Suspension dampers and 275/35R18 Toyo Proxes RR tires. 

Toyota CH-R SEMA engine

Instead of a 2.0-liter four with a CVT, Toyota put a 2AZ-FE 2.4-liter with forged internals, along with a Toyota E-Series 5-speed manual with treated internals. The engine makes 600 hp. That’s more than stock, we think. Someone check. Photo by Karl Funke

Does it work? How about a lap time around Big Willow of 1:25.22? That’s faster than the professionally driven McLaren 650 S Spyder, Porsche 911 GT3 and Nissan GT-R NISMO, according to Toyota.

“Many (of the competitor laps were driven) by Randy Pobst,” said Gardner. “So (they were) not affiliated with Toyota in any way.  We chose to do this for transparency and to avoid any claim that we ‘sandbagged’ with the other cars.”

You can see the list of lap times here.  

“Craig Stanton and I did all the driving on the C-HR R-Tuned,” said Gardner. “With Craig doing the driving on the day of the 1:25.22 lap. The lap is recorded on video.”

There will be other Toyotas on the Toyota stand at SEMA, including the usual collection of Camrys customized under the sometimes-vague direction of real Toyota NASCAR drivers and built by real custom shops. Look for them all at the back of the Center Hall if you’re in Vegas.