IMSA Lexus RC F GT3 Program Could Be Delayed Because Of Speed
The IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship racing series will undergo a few changes for the 2016 season, but one of those changes won’t be the addition of a Lexus race team. The 2015 Lexus RC F GT3 racecar was supposed to make its North American racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, but it looks like that could be delayed. The problem? Speed.
According to Racer, the RC F GT3 hasn’t been that great on the track since its launch, running 11 seconds off the pace at the recent 24 Hours of Nürburgring, and has been off the pace in Japan’s Super GT series competition by as much as 2.5 seconds. The article doesn’t say exactly what changes are being planned, but the team obviously has some work to do with that kind of deficit.
IMSA is changing the rules of the GT Daytona class race cars to better align with global FIA GTS specifications. The goal is to make race car development easier, to attract new teams and new manufacturers, and that was the plan for Lexus, which had initially intended on running the full 2016 United SportsCar Championship campaign. When it is finally ready for racing in North America, the RC F GT3 will still have to go up against proven competition in the GTD class, such as the 2014 Porsche 911 GT America, 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and 2015 Audi R8 LMS just to name a few.
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Why it matters
The United SportsCar Championship season starts kicks off with its two longest events (24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring), so launching a slow race car then would be a bad idea. Racer projects that Lexus could wait until May 2016 to enter competition, which means that it would skip at least Daytona, Sebring and Long Beach. Following that trend, Lexus would probably also skip Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca before a likely start in Detroit (the series’ shortest race of the season at 100 minutes). More official news is expected from Lexus and Toyota Racing Development in the next six weeks.
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