The new Lexus LC flagship luxury coupe set to go on sale in New Zealand next year is on its way to the race track.
During the lead-up to the Japanese Super GT Series Suzuka 1000km endurance race last weekend, Lexus unveiled the racing version of the LC built to the GT 500 regulations.
The new car will next year replace the Lexus RC F model that has been raced by Toyota-affiliated teams in the Super GT series since 2014.
Although the production version of the new coupe is sold as a 5-litre V8 LC 500 model and a 3.5-litre V6 hybrid LC 500h model, the Super GT racer will use the 2-litre four-cylinder turbo engine.
This racing engine, which develops about 650-horsepower, is derived from engines used in the Japanese Super Formula single-seater series. The new four-cylinder turbos are used by the Lexus RC F, Nissan GT-R and Honda NSX racers which contest the GT 500 class.
The unveiling of one Lexus LC racer increases speculation about another. For several years Lexus has been developing an FIA GT3 version of the RC F coupe. But the car has been delayed on several occasions and, most notably, a planned 2016 partial programme by F-Performance in the GTD class of North America’s IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Series has been put on hold and work on the current RC F GT3 car has been halted.
There is speculation the new car won’t be an updated RC F racer and that Lexus plans to take on the ranks of the global GT3 opposition with a car based on the LC 500.