Toyota Delivers a SEMA Surprise

New Camry transformed into a dragster.

by on Nov.04, 2014

Not your average Camry...this 600 horsepower beast caught a few folks napping during the SEMA show.

You can always expect a few surprises at SEMA, and not always where you expect them. Take Toyota, which rolled out a dozen or so custom cars, trucks and concept vehicles for the annual automotive extravaganza known as the SEMA Show.

But the maker saved the best for last – though it didn’t seem that way initially, for under the tarp was what looked like just a stock 2015 Camry. But as the engine kicked over, it was clear this wasn’t quite the same XSE sedan you can find at your local Toyota showroom.

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That became even more apparent when the maker offered to raise the hood – and the entire body of rose up. Developed by TRD, Toyota’s racing arm, what’s been dubbed the “Sleeper Camry” will be making a menacing debut on the drag racing circuit next year.

“This is the most extreme build we’ve ever unveiled at SEMA,” said Toyota Engagement Marketing and Motorsports National Manager Steve Appelbaum. “The transformation from seemingly stock Camry to full-blown racecar just shocks the senses.”

Only at the SEMA show does a drag-racing Camry make an appearance.

The development team took pains to make the Sleeper look as much like a conventional Camry as possible, lifting the sedan’s unibody skin and pairing it to a full tubular frame.

(Takata problem engulfs Toyota. For more, Click Here.)

“It’s all about brute force, rugged durability and raw speed,” Toyota proclaims.

For power, the Sleeper Camry starts out with a 5.7-liter V-8 borrowed from the Tundra pickup, though you’d barely recognize it after they get done tweaking the engine, transmission, rear axle and electronics. The engine is blown with a TRD supercharger and also features a wet nitrous system, among other things.

(Click Here for details about Ford’s King Cobra Mustang at SEMA.)

That gets it to more than 600 horsepower, Toyota officials revealed, though they clearly wanted to maintain a little sense of secrecy about the particulars. What they did note is that the package will turn a 9.80-second quarter mile.

(To see how Hyundai amped it up for SEMA, Click Here.)

With its still-functional stock doors, the Camry dragster took about 11 weeks to pull together, according to Toyota.

“This Camry is the ultimate sleeper — it definitely has the element of surprise on its side and more than enough muscle to drop the hammer on any unsuspecting car that pulls up,” said Chuck Wade, the maker’s Motorsports Technical Center Director.

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3 Responses to “Toyota Delivers a SEMA Surprise”

  1. Jorge says:

    Just for the record… a wet nitrous system and only 600 HP from a supercharged 5.7L V-8 is pretty poor performance.

    The reason I mention this is to illustrate that some folks are easily impressed when they aren’t really technically up to speed. I mean Dodge has a production Hellcat Challenger that has 707 HP and it’s a 100% street legal car, not some pseudo race car. Shelby is selling 850-1100 HP Mustangs – again all 100% street legal cars.

    The only reason the Camry can run 9.80 ETs is the low weight tube chassis and probably a large dose of nitrous.

    I’d give TRD/Toyota an “E” for effort and a “C” for the actual product. They will get a reality check at the drag strip for sure.

    • Other sites are claiming 850 hp, so the 600 mentioned above might be a typo…

      • Jorge says:

        Even 850 HP isn’t anything to write home about when Shelby is selling production 850-1100 HP Mustangs – without nitrous, which probably accounts for the power increase from 600 HP to 850 HP on the Camry drag car.

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