Lexus Set to Go Racing in 2016 with the RC F GT3

V-8-powered racer is set to enter FIA GT3 class next year.

Lexus revealed their new F Racing logo at the Detroit auto show and once again showed us the Lexus RC F GT3 race car concept that previously debuted at the Geneva auto show. An RC F race car ran in the Japanese Super GT series in 2014 but the RC F GT3 is the company’s first entry into the global racing world.

Development of the RC F GT3 will happen throughout 2015, with at least one car actively being tested presently. Presently, the plan is to run the GT3 car in both the FIA GT3 series (Group 3: Cup Grand Touring Cars) and in a to-be-determined U.S. series in 2016. The most logical home in America for the RC F GT3 is the GTD class in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. We spoke with Yukihiko Yaguchi at the show and he said that the team is carefully watching the rules for each series in the USA before committing. He said the RC F GT3 would need some aero modifications but could be eligible for GTD class in the Tudor series, assuming the regulations don’t change for 2016.

Lexus plans to have privateer teams campaign the RC F GT3 around the world. The company expects the final, race-ready version of the RC F GT3 will have around 550 hp from the 5.0-liter V8 and weigh around 2750 pounds. More information will be released in the coming months including the reveal of the final version of the race car.

Lexus had significant success in racing in America with their V-8 engine in the Grand Am Series (now the Tudor United SportsCar Championship). Ganassi Racing used Riley Daytona Prototypes with Lexus power to win three straight Rolex 24 at Daytona wins (2006-2008).

The idea with the RC F GT3 is to further connect the Lexus F high-performance brand to the development and marketing opportunities in racing. With the launch of the new 2016 Lexus GS F mid-size sports sedan also at Detroit, it’s clear Lexus is serious about their ambitions to join the ranks of BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG.

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