Lexus road models incorporate tried and true technologies tested on the world’s most iconic racing circuits
The invigorating sight of a Lexus performance model zooming through town has the power to instantly fill the mind–for just a moment–with images of the passionate, vibrant world of motor racing.
The same happens when gripping those models’ steering wheels. The car’s rhythmic vibrations and the pleasing sound of its engine can conjure images of high-speed racing circuits, adding excitement to the drive.
The racecourse, after all, is Lexus’ testing ground. The brand’s cars have run on the world’s most iconic tracks in races that challenge carmakers to both push the limits of control and speed and implement the world’s most advanced safety features. Feedback from these races is incorporated directly into Lexus road models.
But that’s not to say that motorsports are without their own limitations. Racing regulations strictly govern car specifications and the number of tests one can conduct, making motor racing one of the most confining sports in the world. When posed in a different light, however, these confines make it so that carmakers are challenged to deliver the best performance they can within rigid conditions.
“Over a decade ago, you could conduct as many tests as you wanted to prepare for a race, but not anymore,” says one LEXUS driver who competes in Japan’s top category of motor racing. “Today, carmakers use a wide range of data to develop simulations that provide them with a series of potential solutions. Using the limited number of tests they are allowed, these carmakers need to find out if these solutions are correct, and if not, which piece of missing data caused the problem.”
Over the last 13 years, Lexus has won five titles in the SUPER GT - Japan’s top racing series - with the SC430, the RC F, and most recently the LC500. Competing in the GT500 class, Lexus has demonstrated a superb course of evolution in performance at the Fuji Speedway, Suzuka Circuit, and other world-class racecourses. Onward from 2019, Lexus will temporarily step away from the GT500 class to focus on the GT300 class (where they compete with the RC F GT3), but the development of Lexus cars will continue on streets and circuits all around the world.
For example, Lexus is currently at work developing the LC on Nordschleife (North Course) — a 20 km racetrack with 170 corners and almost no runoff areas — at Germany’s Nürburgring motorsport complex. Such efforts began in 2018, when Lexus first entered the LC in the 24 Hours Nürburgring endurance race — what many consider the world’s most grueling course. Insights gained from these races are continuously incorporated into the development of the LC production model: driving the car’s path of perpetual evolution.
Lexus has also globalized development of the RC F GT3, which undergoes development on some of the world’s greatest racecourses: including the Silverstone Circuit, Monza Eni Circuit, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Circuit Paul Ricard, Daytona International Speedway, and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Here, Lexus engages in fierce competition with the likes of Mercedes Benz, BMW and Porsche – all while further sophisticating their own automobiles.
For Lexus, racing represents a unique opportunity for drivers, mechanics, designers and engineers to collaborate in an environment where every gram, every second, every detail is important. This passion to constantly seek improvements no matter how small is the same for Lexus race cars and road cars. It’s why at Lexus we say – never stop evolving.