Sleek at SEMA

Toyota takes to Vegas with the quickest C-HR ever, and a series of Camry builds from the top names in NASCAR
by Dan Nied
Nov/Dec 2017
Sleek at SEMA
At 600 horsepower, the C-HR R-Tuned showcased at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show is the fastest Compact Utility Vehicle on the planet.
It’s known as SEMA. That’s short for the Specialty Equipment Market Association show. And in recent years, the annual Vegas party has served as a showcase for Toyota’s most daring and distinguished project cars.

So, what did we have this year?

When SEMA kicked off in early November, Toyota was ready for the hype. The star of the show was the C-HR R-Tuned, the quickest Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) on the planet.

Toyota also turned over Camrys to television personality Rutledge Wood and NASCAR drivers Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez, who each created builds in their own image.

Here are some of the highlights:

C-HR R-Tuned

The C-HR has been turning heads since it came onto the scene earlier this year. And this 600-horsepower version is only going to add to the hype. It’s the quickest CUV in the world, clocking a 1:25.22 lap at Willow Springs International Raceway’s 2.5-mile track. It goes from 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds, and produces 1.2g of braking force and 1.7g of lateral acceleration.

Rutledge Wood Camry

If you’re going to do a special build for the flashiest show of the year, it’s not a bad idea to not only invent your own color (in this case, “Blurple”) but also to print your own parts. Top Gear America host Rutledge Wood did just that with this wide-body, road-going Camry. The hood, front and rear bumpers, and other parts were created with 3-D printing technology.

Daniel Suarez Camry                                                                        

Suarez, the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year, teamed with the Motorsports Technical Center to create this elegant, but sporty, build. The front splitter and rear wing were custom designed to work in tandem and produce usable downforce at highway or track speeds. “I wanted to keep the Camry’s athletic, refined aspect, but morph it into a track-ready vehicle,” Suarez says.


Denny Hamlin Camry

Wouldn’t it be convenient to spend a day running laps on the track, and then use that same car to go out on the town that night? That was Denny Hamlin’s inspiration when he teamed with Stephen Klitzsch of GMP Performance. The duo upgraded the wheels to 20x10-inch beauties, with tires that add about three inches to each side. The interior is built for both racing and street driving, featuring Recaro racing buckets with four-point harnesses for both driver and passenger.

Kyle Busch Camry

In a nod to his image on the track, NASCAR’s defending champion brought some attitude to his Camry build, teaming with longtime NASCAR collaborator Chuck Gafrarar of Chuck G Fabrication. They put metallic finishes on the A-pillars, front bumper and roof, and added a custom ducktail rear wing.

Martin Truex Jr. Camry

Truex and the Motorsports Technical Center built a road-going version of his No. 78 Camry Cup Car. It took six different shades of matte black before they found the perfect one. American Racing forged replica wheels of Truex’s on-track sled, and the front splitter and rear lip spoiler create functional downforce.
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