Lexus debuted the RC F coupe, and it took no time at all for the brands racing division to come up with the RC F GT500, a car that’s been around since late 2014 and was actually quite successful last season. It dominated the Super GT series in Japan and earned Team SARD team and drivers’ championship titles in the GT500 category. Now, as the 2017 racing season kicks off, Lexus is at it again with another RC F-based racecar,this time called the RC F GT 3.
Slated to competing in the U.S. GTD class of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, and the GT300 class of the Super GT Series in Japan. It’s powered by a 5.4-liter V-8 (0.4-liters larger than that of the road-going RC F) and is said to deliver 500+ horsepower through a six-speed sequential racing transmission. If the success of the GT500 is any indication, Lexus likely has another winner on its hands, but we’ll see more of that in the coming months.
For now, we know that 3GT Racing team here in the U.S. will put the GT3 to the test at the WeatherTech Championship while the LM Corsa team will be fielding two examples of the car in the Super GT Series. But, will the new GT3 car have what it takes to be dominating like the GT500 was last year? Well, let’s take a closer look at it and see what it brings to the table.
Compared to the GT500, the new RC F GT3 is a little more in line with the looks of the coupe it is based on. Of course, the spindle grille is still there, but the grille used on the GT 3 has the same proportions of that on the road-going coupe. The large air dam down below is covered in mesh but looks functional, and there are two extra winglets applied to the corners of the fascia to match that of the splitter down below. The hood itself features two large cooling vents, while several bumps in the front fender flares should help direct air over the body kit and toward the rear of the car. The headlights are sleek, and recessed into the body, but are functional.
Compared to the GT500, the new RC F GT3 is a little more in line with the looks of the coupe it is based on. Of course, the spindle grille is still there, but the grille used on the GT 3 has the same proportions of that on the road-going coupe.
Moving over to the sides, you’ll find that same sharp body line that runs from the front fenders to the rear taillights, but down below, there is a large and wide side skirt that keeps things even between the two wheel arches. The same rear stationary glass and chrome window trim is present, bu the rear wheel arches are wide and offer a ton of downforce on the rear. The basic design of the race car makes the rear end look a little awkward, which probably has something to do with the rear wing or the sheer functionality of the rear quarter flares.
Around back, you’ll find that the GT3 has the same general deck lid and even the same taillights, but outside of that, it’s a whole new party back here. A massive spoiler sits atop the rear deck that obviously provides ample downforce and helps to give the car a menacing look. Down below the rear fascia is home to a large vent in each corner and a whole line of vents at the bottom, just above that massive, four-wing diffuser. All told, it looks pretty good for a race car and stays true to its road-going model.
There will be a single racing seat, roll cage, and fire extinguisher, among other FIA-required racing equipment.
The inside of the GT3 is a complete mystery. Lexus has said nothing about it and failed to include images with the car’s announcement as well. And, while that may be the case, we’re probably not missing out on much. Expect to see a special racing steering wheel and a special instrument cluster. Outside of that, there will be a single racing seat, roll cage, and fire extinguisher, among other FIA-required racing equipment. The car is said to be showing up at the Geneva Motor Show, so we might get a better look at the interior then, so check back for updates.
Under the hood lurks a 5.4-liter V-8 that delivers “500+” horsepower and an undisclosed amount of torque.
Under the hood lurks a 5.4-liter V-8 that delivers “500+” horsepower and an undisclosed amount of torque. Power is routed to the wheels through a six-speed sequential racing transmission, and eventually, makes its way to the 18×13 center-lock wheels in the front and rear. Little is known about the brake system, but apparently, the GT3 uses iron rotors. As of now what kind of performance times we’re talking about here is also a mystery, but that’s usually how it goes with race cars like this.
MERCEDES AMG GT3
The AMG GT3 has been around since 2016 and is effectively a souped-up road car turned track monster. It features the same kind of interior and exterior modifications to incorporate better aerodynamics and downforce, while still meeting FIA requirements. It’s motivated by a 6.3-liter V-8 that uses a dry sump oil system. Mercedes has yet to release performance details, but the AMG GT3 is lighter than the SLS, so it will likely have less than the 500-horsepower pumped out by that model. Shifting duties are handled by a six-speed transmission that’s mounted between the rear tires for better weight distribution. The GT3 model gets the same suspension system as the road going GT and even uses a direct-ratio rack-and-pinion system.
MCLAREN 650S GT3
The 650S GT3 came to be after the road-going 650S replaced the MP4-12C. As such, McLaren needed a new GT3 contender, and that’s what you see here, an evolution of the 12C GT3. Like most race cars, we’ve never gotten a good look at the inside of the 650S GT3, but like all of them, the interior will be similar to that of the road-going model with the additional of a roll cage, special steering wheel, special electronics, and other safety equipment. It’s powered by McLaren’s famed 3.8-liter, twin-turbo, V-8 that delivers 493 horsepower through a sis-speed transmission that’s pneumatically activated via paddles behind the steering wheel.
It’s actually kind of nice to see a racecar based on the RC-F that doesn’t look goofy. I mean, after all, the GT500 featured a deformed grille and much weaker styling. This new GT 3 car is clearly more muscular and ready to tackle the competition, but does it have what it takes to be as successful as the GT500? It’s hard to say for now, but we’re watching. What do you think of Lexus’ newest race car? Let us know in the comments section below.
- New contender for 2017
- Looks a lot like the road-going model
- Should be successful
- Few specs
Lexus is increasing its focus on motorsport in 2017 with the RC F GT3, aiming to strengthen the performance image of its brand with a growing audience of race enthusiasts worldwide.
The all-new car, now homologated by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, will participate in racing championships in USA and Japan, as well as a number of selected European races.
In the USA, Lexus has supplied two Lexus RC F GT3 to the 3GT Racing team, to compete in the GTD class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series.
In Japan, two cars are contesting the GT300 class of the Super GT Series with the LM corsa team.
In Europe, Farnbacher Racing and Emil Frey Racing, the two teams which competed in VLN Endurance series with RC F GT3 prototype vehicles last year, will continue their development work this season, aiming to compete at higher levels in GT3 racing in Europe in the future. On this basis, they will compete in European races in 2017, including selected events in the International GT Open series.
Last year, Lexus became the first Asian carmaker to win a VLN Endurance Championship race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with a RC F GT3 prototype claiming overall victory at the VLN9 race on 8 October.
Lexus also achieved outstanding results last year with the RC F GT500, another racing car derived from the RC F. The 2016 RC F GT500 dominated the Super GT series in Japan last year, with Team SARD and drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Kohei Hirate respectively claiming the team and drivers’ championship titles in the GT500 category.
Vehicle Name LEXUS RC F GT3
Engine 5.4 L V8
Power 373+ kW (500+ hp)
Torque not available
Transmission 6-sd sequential racing box
Wheels 13×18 ft, 13 x 18 rr – centre-lock
Brakes iron rotors
Wheelbase 2730 mm
Overall Length 4845 mm
Overall Width 2030 mm
Overall Height 1270 mm
Curb Weight 1,300 kg
Lexus Gazoo Racing is to enter its Lexus RC F GT3 for customer racing in international GT series in North America and Japan, starting from the 2017 season.
The competition car is based on the RC F performance coupe and has been engineered to compete in GT3 category races worldwide. It will make its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in the USA on 29 January, launching two-car entries in the leading GT series in North America and Japan.
In the USA it will compete in the GTD category in the IMSA WeatherTechSportsCar Championship series with 3GT Racing; in Japan it will contest the Super GT GT300 class with LMcorsa.
Koei Saga, Chief Officer and Technical Director of Toyota Gazoo Racing, said: “I’m pleased that we are able to introduce the Lexus RC F GT3 in the GT3 category, which represents the highest level of customer racing. The first step is to place four cars in races in the USA and Japan, but in the future we will nurture our RC F GT3 into a model that is loved by customers worldwide.”
Lexus Gazoo Racing will increase its focus on motorsports participation with the production model-based RC F GT3 race car, strengthening the performance image of the Lexus brand with an even larger global audience.