The Lexus RC F is a perfectly fine V8-powered grand tourer, but it’s never been quite as hardcore as similarly priced models from Germany. That could change when a replacement arrives in the next few years, though, as Lexus is keen to continue the successful sports car racing venture that started in 2016 with the RC F GT3.
Speaking to Motor1.com during the Rolex 24 At Daytona last weekend, Toyota Racing Development President Doug Wilson and Lexus GM Andrew Gilleland explained how making the square peg that is the RC F fit in the round hole of the GT3 class has helped both TRD and Lexus and will benefit the next-generation model.
“It’s been difficult for us, because we’ve done a bit of a Frankenstein to raise the level of performance,” Wilson said. “The work that we’ve done here in North America, in collaboration with our partners in Europe and Asia, to make a competitive race car that’s won races, that we’re going to keep racing with, and hopefully compete for championships with, has been impressive. But as a function of that, today we are working behind the scenes with our partners and colleagues in Japan on the next generation.
“Our Lexus RC F is a dynamite sports car, but I’ll be candid and say that it’s not a GT3 car,” Wilson said. “The current gen that we’re racing right now was an afterthought to make it a GT3 car. That’s not the way you bring a race car to market. Before you put the first line on paper, as an engineer, you determine that that’s going to race.”
What that new focus will yield is tough to say in 2022. We’d love to see a lighter RC F. The current car is a bit of a porker in both road-going and competitive form – the day before our sitdown with Wilson and Gilleland, Vasser Sullivan Racing co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan explained that the RC F GT3 (which shares its body-in-white with the road car) is one of the weightiest cars in the class and that leads to inherent tire degradation problems.
A focus on lightness from the start, then, could be a boon to all RC Fs. Evidence of that approach has already appeared with products like the lightened RC F Track Edition and the new Fuji Speedway Edition. Both cars use carbon fibre to lower the curb weight, improving overall performance.
While we can continue to speculate on what the future might bring, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be waiting long to see what Lexus will do. According to the FIA homologation charts, the RC F GT3 is good to race through 2026, but Lexus isn’t keen on spending another four years fielding this car.
“God help us if we’re still racing this car [in 2026],” Wilson said. Gilleland quickly stepped in and said there was no chance that would be happening, adding an emphatic “I can assure you of that.”
“But we will be racing in 2026,” Wilson added.