Lexus is here. The RCF GT3 is finally ready to take the wraps off and get down to the business it was designed to do. It has been a long difficult journey with Lexus. No less than a year into their program they had to shelve the cars and completely re-develop their car. Formerly F Performance, 3GT Racing lead by Paul Gentilozzi was tasked with the development work. With Scott Pruett, Sage Karam and 2 yet to be named drivers 3GT will be taking a pair of it RCF GT3’s to IMSA for a full season attack on the GTD Class. You’d be forgiven for thinking that if the car was going to make its racing debut prior to Daytona, It would have been at last weeks IMSA Finale, Petit Le Mans. However Lexus had different plans. They decided to debut the car at this past weekends VLN round at the Nürburgring.
So why debut the re-worked car in Germany? While the cars were developed in the States the new cars themselves were built-in Cologne. Makes sense to race the cars close to their base of operations. Lexus’ decision to debut the car in the hands of Dominik and Mario Farnbacher was clearly a developmental decision. Get the car some laps in competition and see where it stacks up. Well the car stacks up pretty damn good as the RCF GT3 won on debut. The RCF GT3 won overall, beating the ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 of Alexander Sims and Stef Dusseldorp by 33 seconds. The RCF GT3 has yet to receive its 2017 homologation thus it ran in the SPX class for experimental or unclassified cars. Nevertheless the car’s performance is leaps and bounds better than it was before Lexus went back to the drawing board. During the failed first year the car struggled to keep pace, the car is obviously competitive now.
“I cannot believe what we managed today,” Mario Farnbacher said. His brother Dominik added, “The collaboration between Lexus in Japan, Toyota in Cologne and our team was perfect. The prototype we used for the first time today was almost all-new and it still can be driven to be more comfortable.”
Further testing is planned ahead of the RCF GT3’s IMSA debut at Daytona. However if this past weekend’s race was any indication GTD just got another hyper competitive car to go along with Acura’s new NSX GT3 and the established crop of GT3 machinery. With The new DPi formula debuting in 2017 combined with the new GT3 machinery, next season is quickly becoming the most anticipated seasons in recent memory.