Lexus will climb Pikes Peak with lightweight RC F GT concept
Lexus has revealed the sporty race car that it will task with tackling the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this weekend. Not to be confused with the RC F GT3, the all-new RC F GT concept car loses around 800 lb (363 kg) when compared to its production sibling, giving the 467-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine that much more potential on the twisty ascent up the famed mountain.
In order to ready the all-new RC F sports car for the 93rd running of the Pikes climb, Lexus implemented an aggressive, composite-based weight-savings program that dropped the car's weight down to 3,130 lb (1,420 kg). The redesign includes polycarbonate windows and a carbon fiber components package – roof, hood, trunk lid, door panels, front and rear over fenders, front canards, rear spoiler, dashboard and interior trim. The car rides on Yokohama ADVAN tires.
With such a dramatic drop in poundage, Lexus did not feel it had to do much with the powertrain. Outside of adjusting "states of tune for the competition environment," the car's 467-hp 5.0-liter V8 and eight-speed manumatic transmission remain unchanged from the production car. Torque is listed at 390+ lb-ft at 4,800 rpm, just a hair more than the 389 lb-ft offered by the standard RC F at that same rev count.
The RC F GT will serve as a test car for Lexus' F line, much like the IS F CCS-R did in the past. Lexus engineers will use the GT car to experiment with engine and transmission settings, prototype components, tuning ideas and software development.
"The continued evolution of the F brand remains a top priority for Lexus, and motorsports provide us an outstanding opportunity to develop more than concepts and components for F brand products," says Jeff Bracken, group vice president and GM, Lexus division. "Competition efforts like Pikes Peak help nurture a performance engineering culture and ideology that will have the greatest influence of future F brand products."
The IC F CCS-R race car, which last raced Pikes Peak two years ago, was integral in the helping Lexus engineers develop the RC F's new engine, transmission and chassis. Feedback from that race car, as well as Nurburgring tests of the RC F prototype, prompted them to replace 70 percent of the base RC's multi-link rear/double-wishbone front suspension components, including front and rear springs, dampers, stabilizer bars, bushings and rebound stoppers. The race car also influenced the design of the RC F's available carbon fiber roof and rear wing.
British driver and automotive media personality Justin Bell will take the wheel of the RC F GT at Pikes Peak on Sunday, competing in the Time Attack class. Standing between Bell and the finish line will be 12.4 miles (20 km), 156 turns and 4,725 vertical feet (1,140 m).