Lexus set the automotive world on fire with the LFA in the early 2010s, but the company hasn’t had a premium performance car since its limited run ended. But, a new high-end performance car may still be upon us.
Last year, rumors surfaced that Lexus was planning to bring its F badge back to center stage with a high-performance version of the LC500 grand tourer. Those plans fell apart in the feasibility study process, but Lexus still has flagship performance plans. We spoke with Lexus Motorsports Director Jeffrey Bal at the Long Beach Grand Prix last weekend to find out more about what’s to come.
“The LC is a touring car, it’s a perfectly balanced weight distribution, 50/50,” Bal said. “Rumors say there was a design and study for the LC F… They looked at it and it’s not a feasible study for us.”
The rumors he refers to claimed that the LC F would be powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing some 660 horsepower. In the end, whether due to the performance of what would be a fairly heavy end product or simply the costs associated with developing a performance grand tourer, the project was scrapped. Instead, the next generation of Lexus performance will go in another direction.
With Lexus intent on racing its next GT3 performance car, Bal said the Toyota GR GT3 concept unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon offers a clue as to what might be on the way.
“The Tokyo Motor Show concept. We’re quite advanced in development and we’re really excited, but not yet to a point where we can share a lot of details. The car you’ve seen is very striking, and what we’re seeing is it going to be close.”
Will it be anything like a true successor to the LFA? Although Bal doesn’t indicate exactly where the car will land on the performance spectrum, he did give us an idea of what to expect:
I think the industry, enthusiasts and current owners, everyone is wondering what’s next. We had this incredible car of which we built 500 by hand, a unicorn among all the other exotics. There is something we need to succeed that. At the same time, IS F and GS F owners who know that there is currently nothing planned to succeed these, there is a gap between the LFA and IS platforms, GS, RC F these cars have the potential to take up space in.
When asked if it would look something like the Mercedes AMG GT, a dedicated performance car that’s paired directly with the SL grand tourer the same way this new Lexus would be paired with the existing LC500, Bal said. that we might be on the right track:
“There is something [in the works] closer to [the AMG GT] you’ve described and it could fall into that as we study it closely, but we’re not ready to announce anything just yet.”
No matter what the next Lexus performance product actually is, it’s expected that Lexus will continue to take it to GT3 racing in IMSA’s new GTD Pro class, which allows factory teams with lineups fully professional to use cars originally designed for customer races. The existing RC F program has won races since 2018 and current factory team Vasser Sullivan won a sprint race championship with the car in 2018. Bal hopes the new car will debut in 2024, just in time. to race Ford’s next factory Mustang program. Currently, the Vasser Sullivan Lexus is racing against cars from BMW, Porsche, Corvette, Acura, Mercedes, and Lamborghini in GTD Pro.
Bal also points out that Lexus is looking at ways to inject performance into other parts of its lineup. While that doesn’t mean a return to a mid-size M5 competitor like the GS F anytime soon, it could mean higher-performance versions of existing cars. If that means more cars like the IS500 that debuted last year, that will be a very good thing.
Unfortunately, the failure of the feasibility study and the dedicated performance product planned in its place means that we will not see a production LC F. However, since this study was commissioned, it is possible that an LC prototype Made was built. If so, Lexus might have something like the original BMW M8 up its sleeves, an all-original performance variant of a GT car waiting to be shared decades after its hopes for a new car were doomed. achieve production.
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