Toyota revealed the Tacoma X-Runner "Ready to Race" high-performance SEMA project truck Tuesday at Pomona Raceway in Southern California, with a few welcome changes from what we first reported over the weekend.
Aimed at conquering the drag strip, the RTR melds the street performance X-Runner version of Toyota's midsize Tacoma pickup with the full-size Tundra's mighty 5.7-liter V-8. Then it ups the ante by bolting on Toyota Racing Development hardware, including a supercharger and intake kit. The end result is a 504-horsepower, 550 pounds-feet of torque hero truck that's expected to be piloted to quarter-mile times in the 11-second range.
The RTR doesn't just combine powerful hardware. It's also a combination of Toyota’s strong motorsports heritage and a passionate development team, said David Williams, Toyota Tacoma and Tundra marketing manager.
The best part? The RTR could almost be considered a parts-bin truck that a strong-willed enthusiast might be able to build in their garage.
The 5.7-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission have been installed in the Tacoma without a single calibration change, Williams said. The engine still thinks it's working in a full-size pickup, not a 3,920-pound dragster. The X-Runner RTR weighs only about 150 pounds more than a stock X-Runner.
The RTR project team also borrowed the rear axle from a Tundra with a 4.30 ratio and 10.5-inch ring gear, though the team narrowed its wide track by 5.7 inches to match the Tacoma's natural stance. Inside, the Tacoma's gauge cluster has been replaced by the Tundra's.
One of the most difficult feats of the project was combining the wiring harnesses of both the Tundra and Tacoma so the RTR's electrical system would behave correctly, Williams said.
The X-Runner keeps its stock rear brakes, and the 15-inch steel wheels are the same that come with the base Tacoma, though they've been narrowed to 4.5 inches wide in front and widened to 10 inches in the rear to accommodate the massive Goodyear Eagle Dragway slicks needed for maximum traction at launch.
Other unique changes include a fabricated steel driveshaft, because the Tundra's stock driveshaft was too long, and fabricated torsion bars. TRD drafted Eaton's help to create a prototype mechanical limited slip rear diff. The only body modification was relocating the exhaust from behind the passenger-side rear wheel to under the cab, which helps maximize rear-suspension squat for optimal takeoffs. The RTR's ride height was reduced 4.5 inches from its already-low stock level.
Inspiration for the RTR’s livery comes from the limited-edition 1968 Dan Gurnery Mercury Cougar XR7-G pony car. The XR7-G was Mercury's equivalent of a Shelby Mustang and Gurney was a famous race car driver who signed on with Lincoln-Mercury in the late 1960s to manage their auto racing efforts. He later lent his name to the upfitted Cougar.
The number "95" on the RTR's doors refers to the Tacoma’s first model year. Other exterior details include painted front fender badging that resembles the Tundra's similarly positioned 5.7-liter i-Force V-8 emblems and a tornado logo next to the words "TRD supercharged" in front of the hood's air inlet.
What’s the end result like? In the hands of Top Fuel professional dragster Antron Brown, on his first day behind the wheel, Brown got the X-Runner RTR down to 12.01 seconds at 116.57 mph in uncooperative weather at Pomona Speedway. That’s remarkable for what Toyota says is an uncalibrated drag truck.
We’ll have VBOX performance data collected during Antron’s runs to share with you later this week.
From what we saw today, the Tundra and Tacoma fused X-Runner RTR hero truck is one Toyota hybrid we can definitely get behind.