The Races

MASTERING THE ULTIMATE ROAD

If the racing circuit can be defined as the ultimate road, then motorsports can be defined as the attempt to master the ultimate road. In the case of Lexus, this means using the racing circuit as a laboratory for researching and developing cutting-edge automobile technologies, many of which have been revolutionary.

The scope of Lexus’ motorsports activities reaches far and wide, from sprint races at Grand Prix circuits across the world to endurance-testing 24-hour races, street course races where the roads offer tenuous grip, hill climb races that involve driving to elevations of over 4,000 meters, and desert races that take place on dangerous offroad terrain.

The “roads” in these racing series are difficult to conquer, and yet that has never stopped Lexus from taking on the challenge in its motorsports activities. For almost twenty years, these passionate car and engineering enthusiasts have competed in races in vehicles provided by the brand itself.

What Lexus has learned through these races has not only helped improve the technological performance of their racecars but has also directly contributed to better road-legal cars for the everyday driver.

Learn more about the races:
IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA
NÜRBURGRING 24 HOURS
SUPER GT
SUPER TAIKYU (S-TAI) SERIES


IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP

In 2014, the Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series were merged by the International Motorsports Association (IMSA). IMSA is a North American sports car racing sanctioning body that oversees many of the world's most prestigious endurance races, including the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Initially called the United SportsCar Championship, the series was renamed to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2016.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship hosts 11 rounds per year, including four endurance races such as the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as seven sprint races at famous U.S. circuits such as Indianapolis, Laguna Seca, and the Long Beach street circuit.

There are five classes in the championship: three Sports Prototype categories (the GTP, the LMP2, and the LMP3) and two Grand Touring classes (the GTD PRO and the GTD).

The VASSER SULLIVAN RACING competes in the GTD Pro and GTD classes in the Lexus RC F GT3 up against the PORSCHE 911 GT3R, the BMW M4 GT3, the MERCEDES-AMG GT3, and the FERRARI 296 GT3.


GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA

The GT World Challenge Asia—formerly known as the Blancpain GT Asia—kicked off in 2017 and has been hosting races in three Asian countries. The series is consisted of six rounds in 2023 and they are the Chang International Circuit in Thailand and the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia as well as Fuji, Suzuka, Motegi, and Okayama in Japan.

The series is open to entrants competing in GT3 and GT4 cars, with a maximum of two drivers per car, and it has a strong international flavor, with Japanese models such as the Lexus RC F, the HONDA NSX, and the NISSAN GT-R competing against European GTs such as the AUDI R8 LMS, the BMW M4, the FERRARI 296, the LAMBORGHINI HURACAN, the McLAREN 720S, the MERCEDES-AMG GT, and the PORSCHE 911 GT3R.

The GT3 category is split into a
variety of classes according to driver performance and combination with at least one Asian driver required to enter. The PRO/AM class is for teams that feature both professional and gentleman drivers while the Silver Cup requires two professionals ranked Silver or lower by the FIA per team to compete. The AM Cup is for drivers ranked Bronze.

There are a number of Japanese drivers and teams, including the K-tunes Racing with the Lexus RC F GT3, as the GT World Challenge Asia hosts a spate of races in Japan (known as the “Japan Cup”). The GT World Challenge Asia employs the Balance of Performance (BoP) system, which means that there are plenty of fierce battles and new champions on the horizon.


NÜRBURGRING 24 HOURS

This prestigious 24-hour endurance race began its life in 1970 at the Nürburgring, a circuit located in north-west Germany. Originally a local event organized by the German Automobile Association (ADAC), the Nürburgring is now known as one of the most challenging circuits in the world; with a 300-meter drop in elevation and more than 170 bends.

This twisting mountain circuit is consisted of the 20-kilometer North Loop (Nordschleife) and the 5-kilometer Grand Prix Track (GP-Strecke), where Formula One’s German Grand Prix has been held. The North Loop, especially, is so demanding that it is known as the "Green Hell".

In the 1990s, the world's leading car and parts manufacturers, including PORSCHE, FERRARI, and MERCEDES, began to enter the Nürburgring 24 Hours as part of their cutting-ege development efforts. As a result, it became a popular international endurance race on par with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona. The race is famous for its unique technical regulations and featuring a variety of classes. Lexus first entered the race with the Lexus LFA for technical development and engineer training purposes, followed by the Lexus LC 500 in the SP-PRO class where the Japanese car manufacturer won the championship in 2018.


SUPER GT

Originally known as the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship that began in 1994, SUPER GT became an international series in 2005. Since then, the races have been held at major circuits both in Japan and Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand. With average attendance of more than 40,000 every year, the series is now established as one of the largest and most popular among the Japanese racing fans.

There are two classes of cars competing: the GT 500 and the GT 300. The latter is open to cars designed to meet either the FIA GT3 specifications or the JAF GT 300 regulations, allowing a variety of vehicles to be able to compete in the series. With the FIA GT3 alone, there is a full range of Japanese and non-Japanese supercars competing, including the Lexus RC F, the NISSAN GT-R, and the HONDA NSX as well as the MERCEDES-AMG GT, the AUDI R8 LMS, and the BMW M4.

The GTA-GT 300 also features Japanese cars, including the Lexus LC500h, the GR SUPRA, and the SUBARU BRZ. The Balance of Performance (BoP) system applies to the Super GT, resulting in a number of thrilling battles down to the last race. This is why the GT 300 class is known as "the most competitive class in the world".


SUPER TAIKYU (S-TAI) SERIES

Previously known as the N1 Endurance Series, Super Taikyu (Super Endurance) is a Japanese endurance racing series for commercial race cars and minimally modified production cars, which began in 1991. Called the 'S-Tai' among the passionate fans, it is one of the largest and most popular races in Japan, attracting both professional and gentleman drivers.

In 2023, a total of seven races will be held at the major circuits in Japan. All of them will be endurance races of three hours or more with the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours - the series' longest race – being a special event of the series, starting in 2018.

Another feature of the S-Tai is that the series is divided into different classes of cars (from ST-X to ST-5) depending on an engine displacement or drive system as a wide variety of teams - from privateers to manufacturer-sponsored teams - enter their cars with different objectives. In the ST-X class - the highest class of the S-Tai - many teams choose their favorite cars from the models approved as GT3 cars under FIA regulations, ranging from the Lexus RC F to NISSAN GT-R, HONDA NSX, MERCEDES-AMG GT, ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE and others.

The Lexus RC350 and the NISSAN FAIRLADY Z are battling it all out in the ST-3 class for rear-wheel-drive models with engine displacements between 2400cc and 3500cc.

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