Lexus may be on the cusp of introducing its first battery-electric vehicle, but that doesn’t mean it’s slowing development of internal combustion engines.
The company revealed the twin-turbocharged V8 engine debuting in its Lexus LC race car will feature in “future road cars such as sports cars”.
Next year represents the third time Toyota Gazoo Racing has competed at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring with a Lexus LC – and the 14th consecutive year the team has participated.
It’ll be the first year, however, the LC racer will feature turbocharged V8 power. Previously, the Gazoo Racing special has featured a modified version of the LC500's naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine.
Pictured: 2019 Lexus LC race car
In addition to the new V8, the LC race car will also be a test bed for other mechanical developments intended for future road cars, such as lighter and more rigid suspension components and high-response shock absorbers.
We don’t know the size or output of the race car’s engine, let alone details about the eventual production version.
Considering Lexus’s reference to sports cars, it’s possible it could appear in the hotly-anticipated LC F when it eventually launches.
A hotted-up LC has been snapped testing numerous times, but there's been no official word from Lexus on what it is, and what will power it.
Given the engine is being tested in an LC racer, it's not too much of a stretch – but industry rumours suggest the LC F won't appear for at least two years.
Though that doesn’t necessarily mean the LX will use a 6.0-litre V8 – Lexus’s alphanumerics don’t always correspond with engine size – it suggests the LX could be the recipient of a more powerful engine.
A twin-turbocharged V8 could help the LX match the next-generation Cadillac Escalade's V8 and boost sales in the US market, which lag behind all full-size luxury SUV rivals including the Infiniti QX80.
The current LX570 produces 270kW and 530Nm, while the upcoming Escalade will almost definitely have a 6.2-litre V8 producing at least 313kW and 623Nm.
We’ll likely hear more about the new V8 closer to next year’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring, which will take place from May 21 to 24.
The chief driver will be Hiroaki Ishiura, competing in the race for the sixth time. He’ll appear alongside Masahiro Sasaki, Kazuya Oshima and Naoya Gamo.