Lexus says it has no plans to become the fifth manufacturer in Australia's V8 Supercar Championship despite debuting a 450kW Lexus IS F racecar on track over the weekend.
The Lexus IS F racer was one of three purchased by Lexus of Brisbane in July last year, and despite being race-ready, Lexus Australia says it currently has no plans to send any of them around a circuit in anger.
“We have no plans to go V8 Supercar racing,” Lexus Australia spokesman Tyson Bowen said.
“We saw an opportunity with these cars and we took it.”
The man who headed to Switzerland last year to inspect the Mauer Racing IS F touring cars, Lexus of Brisbane LFA technical specialist Val Brkic, confirmed the trio did not satisfy V8 Supercars’ new Car of the Future regulations.
“No, this won’t comply, it’s too modified for that,” Brkic said of the IS F racecar that was piloted around Sydney Motorsport Park by rally legend Neal Bates at last weekend’s Top Gear Festival.
“But you never know where it could lead though. Hopefully they [Lexus Australia] can enter it one day if it’s their target.”
Brkic said Lexus intends to use the IS F racers for demonstration events and customer experience days in the short term.
“Basically we want to use it to build the F Sport brand, the performance side of Lexus, and we want to have the customers experience a racecar,” he said.
“We’ve got three LFAs up in Brisbane – one’s a dealer car, two are customers’ – and we’ve got a lot of F Sport customers who want to have a little more experience. We can provide that with these cars.”
Brkic said the cars might one day be entered into a competitive race series but insisted it was not a priority at this stage.
“At the moment we’re just happy to bring something forward to customers that they wouldn’t experience with any other brand basically.”
The Lexus IS F racer is powered by a TRD-developed naturally aspirated 4.7-litre V8 that produces approximately 450kW. A six-speed no-lift sequential rear-mounted Hewland SL-600 transmission with line-lock and launch control sends drive to the rear wheels.
StopTech brakes and FabCar custom-designed ZF Sachs suspension hide behind 18-inch BBS racing wheels, which sit at the corners of the wide-body carbonfibre exterior – the whole package weighing 1290kg.
Only one car has been built so far, with the other two still requiring assembly. The main modification Lexus of Brisbane has made to car No.1 is adding a passenger seat. All that remains to be done on that car is to fit power steering and complete some fine-tuning specific to Australia’s climate. Brkic said a similar set-up is planned for all three.
While Brkic couldn’t confirm how much Lexus of Brisbane paid for the three cars, he said Mauer Racing spent approximately 2.5 million euro ($3.1 million) in taking the IS F trio from the showroom to the racetrack.