For those of you who find the street-legal Lexus RC F coupe a bit tame and the RC F GT3 racecar too extreme, get ready for one that is just right. Lexus is filling that gap with its RC F GT Concept, a track car that is making an appearance on the track between races at the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this very weekend. We’ve seen this car in its earlier stages of development at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 2015, where it was driven to a fifth-place finish by Justin Bell.
The GT Concept was developed alongside the RC F production car by the Lexus Development Center in Japan, with support from the Lexus International Motorsports group. Weight was reduced by 800 pounds through extensive use of composite materials in the hood, roof, trunk lid, door panels, fenders, rear spoiler, interior trim, and dashboard; and the windows are composed of polycarbonate. The GT Concept employs the same 5.0 Liter DOHC V8 and 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic (with manual shifting mode) transmission, but has modified lubrication, cooling systems, and a performance exhaust system.
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The GT Concept’s suspension has been reinforced for increased durability, and also features greater adjustability for the various conditions it will face in competition. The factory Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) control system has been modified to allow more versatility on the track.
“The GT Concept shows the opportunities of the platform and powertrain that underpins our F models,” said Lexus group vice president and general manager Jeff Bracken. “The high performance RC F coupe and GS F sedan are geared toward enthusiast drivers and make a very strong statement about Lexus’ engineering capabilities.”
The RC F GT Concept will be driven at Long Beach by Lexus pro racers Scott Pruett and Roger Yasukawa. Pruett is the most successful active driver in North American sportscar racing. He won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona four times, and has taken home championships in Trans Am, IMSA, and the Rolex Grand Am. He also boasts wins in CART, Le Mans, and IROC. He was recently signed as the Lexus factory driver for team F Performance Racing, which entered the RC F GT3 racecar in the upcoming IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Roger Yasukawa grew up racing karts and formula cars in Japan, England, and the U.S., and turned pro at 21. He’s had success in Toyota-powered Formula Atlantics as well as IndyCars and IMSA GT cars. He has been a performance driver for Lexus USA since the IS F launched in 2007.