Toyota goes racing with the Sienna and we drive it

Have you ever considered driving your living room around a racetrack? Toyota would like you to think it's possible, and is why it decided to compete in the One Lap of America with a pair of Sienna minivans.

One Lap concluded this past weekend, and both vans completed the 12-state, 3,500-mile trip that included competitions at eight racetracks from Wisconsin to Massachusetts.

A pair of swagger wagons

Neither of the minivans are bone stock, but they really aren't that far off from what you can buy in a dealer and both use the stock 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and 6-speed automatic transmission.

The more competitive of the pair is the R-Tuned Sienna, which competed in the Truck/SUV class against just one competitor, an Acura MDX entered by Acura.

Toyota Sienna R-Tuned, 2016 One Lap of America

Toyota Sienna R-Tuned, 2016 One Lap of America

A partnership between the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) and performance parts developer DG-Spec, the R-Tuned started as a Sienna SE. TTC and DG-Spec removed all the seats, replacing the driver's seat with a race bucket and adding a four-point roll cage. Power output is up a bit thanks to a cat-back exhaust and a cold-air intake. Suspension updates include double-adjustable coil-over shocks, front camber plates, racing springs, and a limited-slip differential. The brakes are upgraded with G-Loc brake pads (R12s up front, R10s out back) and TRD steel brake lines, and the whole thing rides on Enkei 18x10-inch alloy wheels wearing 275/35 series Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R performance tires. A carbon fiber hood saves weight up front, and, all told, the van is down about 800 pounds. Still at 3,850 pounds, it's not light for a track car.

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With American Top Gear host Rutledge Wood and Grand Am Rolex GT champion Craig Stanton at the wheel, the R-Tuned Sienna beat the MDX for the class win, and finished 21st overall out of 69 entries. That put it ahead of cars such as a Porsche Cayman, a Dodge Viper, a Mitsubishi Evo, and several Corvettes. Obviously, that finish was better than most would have expected of a minivan.

The SE+ entry, which was the only Exhibition class vehicle in the One Lap competition, is much closer to stock. All the seats are still in place, and it weighs more than 4,600 pounds. Many of its changes are simply cosmetic. Also based on the SE, it gets revised front and rear bumpers, smoked headlights and taillights, tinted windows, black satin exterior mirrors, a spoiler extension, and blacked out wheels.

Performance upgrades include Pirelli P Zero 235/50 series summer tires, G-Loc GS1 brake pads, racing oil, and performance brake fluid. Under the hood, it has a TRD radiator cap that raises the coolant's boiling point, and inside it adds a Racepak IQ3 Logger gauge set.

Piloted primarily by Sienna chief engineer Andrew Lund, the Sienna SE+ finished 61st overall.

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