If it's autumn, it must be time for SEMA, the automotive aftermarket show put on by the Specialty Equipment Market Association. So gird your loins for all kinds of cool concepts and one-offs straight from the show floor in Las Vegas this week. This year, Toyota has gone all-in with the full-size pickup, using it as a base for what it calls the TRD Chase Tundra and the not-quite-so-snazzily-named Lifted and Accessorized Tundra.
As a desert racer, I know how integral a good chase truck is to making it on the podium. In long-mileage desert races, we don't have a paddock or designated pits. Anything that needs to be fixed has to happen in the middle of nowhere. A good chase truck can get a crew of mechanics out to the course, have enough room for spares and supplies and be able to handle what the desert has to offer.
The Chase Tundra starts with a TRD Pro Tundra powered by the company's i-FORCE MAX twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 hybrid powerplant with 437 horsepower and 582 pound-feet of torque. Since the chase truck has to travel on roads that are often just as rough as the race course, this concept is outfitted with TRD long-travel suspension with Fox internal-bypass shocks. Custom bumpers give a better approach angle and leave more room for a beefier skid plate. 37-inch General Tire Grabber X3 rubber is wrapped around 18-inch Method wheels, because the last thing you need is for your chase truck to get a flat.
Lighting plays a huge role in chasing desert races. If you have to fix a buggy in the middle of the night somewhere between La Purisima and Loreto in Baja, you're going to need some wattage. The Chase Tundra has Rigid LED lights on the front, side and rear. The rear lights are mounted on the roof, and they can be raised and lowered electronically from inside the cabin to cut down on wind noise and help improve aerodynamics.
Chase vehicles have to carry a lot of stuff. I'm talking spares, tools -- you name it, the truck has to have it. Chase Tundra comes complete with a race radio, a bed rack system with room for two spare tires, a 15-pound CO2 bottle, an off-road jack and fuel and water containers. Everything is secured using the Tundra's standard mounting points and there is room left over for a dump can or two of race gas and a welder.
Off-road racing teams put just as much time prepping their chase vehicles as they do their actual race cars. I'd like to see tow hooks and a winch added to the package here, but I love that Toyota honors those hardy vehicles with this Chase Tundra concept.
Toyota TRD Pro Chase Tundra concept is ready to support your Baja 1000 dreamsSee all photos
If you're someone who wants to wheel without the pressure of supporting a race car, check out the Lifted and Accessorized Tundra. Toyota has taken a TRD Off-Road Tundra with the non-hybrid 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 and added a whole slew of cool parts and accessories.
The TRD Off Road package is pretty capable as it is with the Multi-Terrain Select System, CRAWL control and a rear locker. This concept adds a lift for an additional 2.6 inches of ground clearance and better approach, departure and breakover angles. It also adds performance goodies including a TRD skid plate and a wheel-and-tire package.
There are also some extra chrome bits, because all concepts must have a modicum of chrome, as well as a dash cam, a tablet holder for rear seat passengers and a locking console safe.
With over 100 TRD accessories at the ready, this concept shows that you can have as much or as little as you want, essentially customizing your Tundra with Toyota Racing Development parts to your heart's content.