Executives from Lexus and Toyota Racing Development are hopeful of seeing an all-new GT3 car by as early as 2024, in what has been described as a “best case scenario” by TRD President and general manager David Wilson.
The luxury automaker, which is represented in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a pair of Lexus RC F GT3s fielded by Vasser Sullivan, has reaffirmed its long-term commitment to GT3 racing, with the current model set for at least the next two seasons.
However, with no current production car in Lexus’ lineup that is deemed to be suited to the platform, Wilson said they are waiting on a new model to serve as the basis of a “ground up” GT3 car.
“We’ve made no secret or apology for the fact that the car we’re racing right now… The problem is that from a clean sheet of paper, it wasn’t conceived as a GT3 car,” Wilson told Sportscar365.
“It was a sports car and way too late down the line someone said, ‘We should race it.’
“Man it’s been a journey. I’m proud of the fact that we have a competitive race car but it’s not a very good GT3 car and that’s just a fact.”
The RC F GT3 is homologated through the 2026 season, which Wilson said allows Lexus time to wait for what could be next in the production pipeline.
He said the RC F program has also served as a good learning experience in its foray into GT3 racing.
“There’s been value in going through this lesson on a global basis,” he said.
“There’s a much better understanding of the intentionality that you have to have from a product development standpoint from a clean sheet of paper that you bake into the design parameters of a production car.
“We’re certain that those type of lessons will pay off in the future and will pay off with some really cool product.”
Wilson said they expect to continue with the RC F GT3 “likely through” the 2023 season prior to the possibility of a new product by as early as 2024.
“I think that’s probably the best-case [scenario] given the lifecycle of the car we’re racing now,” he said.
“We could have taken the approach of just parking our current car and wait for the new car. But to do that would lose momentum.
“We’re bound and determined to keep this foundation solid and do the best job we can with the product we have until we find a new product.”
Wilson said TRD has been asked to participate “up front” in the development of future Lexus production products by working directly with Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan on the parameters that would suit the GT3 platform.
“That’s a reflection of the creditability we’ve earned since 2017 and how good of a job we’ve done with the car we’re racing,” Wilson said.
“By far from a global perspective, the most success has been with our program.
“We’re really encouraged that we’ve been asked to ultimately participate in the development. That gives us assurance that we’re going to have a good car.”
Lexus Dealer Support Showing Continued Growth
Both Wilson and Lexus motorsports manager Jeff Bal said the level of activation and support from its dealer network has continued to grow with the program, which is now in its fifth year.
“The success of being here, our dealers have caught that magnetic pull,” said Bal.
“It excites them and their showroom and becomes the focal point when they talk to our executives on the need for future product.
“More than half of our 240 Lexus dealers are on board closely following what we’re doing every weekend at the races.
“When they take that value, that’s how we get cars like the LC built.
“Having that kind of success here gives them more fuel and even more excitement to help push Japan to bring us performance in the lineup.”