Is Lexus working on its very own 911 GT3?

Unveiled in 2014, the Lexus RC has already spawned a hot RC F version and three different race cars in either production or concept form. That’s quite a lot for a vehicle that has been around for only a couple of years, but apparently it’s not enough for Lexus. The Japanese automaker has announced that a new racing version of the RC F will be showcased at the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar race on April 17.

Dubbed RC F GT Concept, it is a further development of the vehicle with the same name that Justin Bell drove to fifth place in the Time Attack class at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 2015. As the name suggests, it’s only a concept car and Lexus didn’t say whether it will evolve into a full-fledged race car or spawn a track-ready, road-legal version of the coupe. The company did mention that it is positioned between the street-legal RC F and the full-bore RC F GT3 race car that will soon compete in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but that doesn’t mean much really.

Be that as it may, the new concept has received extensive modifications since the Pikes Peak race. Not only lighter, it also uses an improved drivetrain, a more competitive suspension system, and updated software. The RC F GT Concept will be driven at Long Beach by Lexus pro racers Scott Pruett, the winningest active driver in North American sports car racing, and Roger Yasukawa.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus RC F GT Concept.

  • 2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    467
  • Torque @ RPM:
    390
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept
- image 672663
But even though there are no signs of evolution on the outside, this concept is downright aggressive and looks like an RC F on steroids

Lexus released only a couple of photos of the new concept, but it’s enough to notice that car is not that new design-wise. Except for the slightly revised wheels, the car set to be unveiled in California is actually identical to the concept used in the Pikes Peak race. Even the livery is identical, despite the fact that the wavy pattern no longer colored, but monochromatic. Other not-so-important differences include the missing No. 8 decal on the doors and the "GT Concept" lettering on the side skirts.

But even though there are no signs of evolution on the outside, this concept is downright aggressive and looks like an RC F on steroids. It’s nearly as menacing as the GT3-spec car, featuring numerous aerodynamic add-on and a massive rear wing atop its trunk lid. The canards on each side of the front bumper and the diffuser are clear signs that this RC F was tuned for track use.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 107.4 inches (2730 MM)
Overall Length 189.2 inches (4805 MM)
Overall Width 77.8 inches (1915 MM)
Overall Height 53.4 (1357 MM)

Interior

There are no interior photos to run by, but it’s safe to assume that the cockpit was extensively modified in order to improve safety and shed as much weight as possible. My best guess is that it is pretty similar to the GT3 model, meaning it should have very little in common with the road-going production car. Both the standard instrument cluster and center console have been replaced with race-spec units, while a big display positioned behind the steering wheel provides the driver with everything he needs to know about his car. As with most race cars, the center stack is probably a collection of colored knobs, buttons and switches. Most of the interior is likely made from carbon-fiber, including the door panels, the steering wheel and its column case, and the center console. The racing seats and roll cage complete the race-ready cabin.

Drivetrain

2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept
- image 672664
Lexus says that the revised V-8 cranks out "467+ horsepower and 390+ pound-feet of torque.

Under the hood, the RC F GT Concept uses the familiar 5.0-liter V-8 found in high-performance road-going Lexus vehicles. Naturally, the mill has been altered for motorsport use. Important add-ons include modified lubrication and cooling systems, a performance exhaust system, and software changes to the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) control system. The latter expands the handling envelope for track use.

Moving onto performance specs, Lexus says that the revised V-8 cranks out "467+ horsepower and 390+ pound-feet of torque." That’s not exactly helpful, but at least we know that the GT Concept is more powerful than the standard model. It’s not clear by how much, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up for more than just a few ponies and pound-feet. Unlike the engine, the eight-speed automatic transmission is identical to the standard unit.

Despite not being significantly more powerful than the road-going RF C, the GT Concept should be quicker due to the fact that it’s no fewer than 800 pounds lighter, thanks to extensive use of composite materials in the body. Also, the race-spec coupe benefits from a reinforced suspension for increased durability. Not much else is known about this concept, but it should hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than four seconds, about a half-second quicker than the RC F you can find in showrooms.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine Type 2UR-GSE 5.0 Liter V8 with DOHC and Dual-VVT-I
Horsepower 467+ HP @ 7,100 RPM
Torque 390+ LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM
Transmission 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with manual shifting mode
Curb weight 3,130 LBS (1,420 KG)

Conclusion

2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept
- image 672662

It’s cool that Lexus took its Pikes Peak racer back to the shop and made improvements to the drivetrain and suspension system, but this concept raises more question than it answers. Granted, the car not only looks great, but it’s also capable at the track. The big question is, what is Lexus planning to do with it? Will we see another RC F hit the race track alongside the GT3? Is the brand working on some sort of customer car that’s more affordable than the GT3? Any of that would be fine, but it would be way better if Lexus is working on a hotter RC F. I’m thinking about a car that could be raced at the track without losing its road-legal status. In other words, Lexus should develop very own 911 GT3. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to happen very soon, but Lexus will have to turn this concept into something, and the result should be interesting to say the least.

  • Leave it
    • Just a concept for now
    • No idea what Lexus wants to do with it
    • Not so many changes since the Pikes Peak run

Press Release

Lexus will have a special RC F racecar on-track between races at the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (CA) this weekend.

The RC F GT Concept is a track car positioned between a street-legal RC F production car and the full-bore RC F GT3 racecar that will soon compete in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The GT Concept was developed in parallel with the RC F production car by the Lexus Development Center in Japan with support from the Lexus International Motorsports Group. The car appearing at Long Beach is a further development of the RC F GT Concept that Justin Bell drove to 5th place in the Time Attack class at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 2015.

Extensive use of composite materials in the body reduce mass by 800 lbs. compared to a production RC F. The GT Concept retains the same engine and transmission as the production car with modified lubrication and cooling systems and a performance exhaust system. The suspension has been reinforced for durability, with increased adjustability for the competition environment. Software changes to the factory Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) control system expand the handling envelope for track use.

"The GT Concept shows the opportunities of the platform and powertrain that underpins our F models," said Jeff Bracken group Vice President and General Manager Lexus division. "The high performance RC F coupe and GS F sedan are geared toward enthusiast drivers and make a very strong statement about Lexus’ engineering capabilities."

The RC F GT Concept will be driven at Long Beach by Lexus pro racers Scott Pruett and Roger Yasukawa.

Scott Pruett is the winningest active driver in North American sportscar racing. A four-time winner of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Scott has earned championships in Trans Am, IMSA and the Rolex Grand Am, and wins in CART, Le Mans and IROC. In 2016 Scott was honored by the Road Racers Drivers Club with the Phil Hill award of excellence. Scott was recently signed as the Lexus factory driver for the RC F GT3 racecar entered by F Performance Racing in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Roger Yasukawa grew up racing karts and formula cars in Japan, England and America. Since turning pro at age 21 he’s had success in Toyota-powered Formula Atlantics, IndyCars and in IMSA GT cars. Roger has been a performance driver for Lexus U.S.A. since the launch of the IS F in 2007.

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