Lexus and its parent, Toyota, are running against the wind at this year’s North American International Auto Show by introducing sports cars rather than trucks or EVs. In fact, Lexus basically pushed all of its chips in for the 2019 event with the Lexus RC F and F Track Edition.
This new offering, based off the RC, has been described as a limited edition “track car” that has been developed expressly for enthusiasts.
“Aside from the LFA, this is the fastest, most powerful vehicle we’ve ever built,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America.
The Track Edition is basically the standard Lexus RC F performance coupe on steroids. The new track-ready model has been extensively updated for the 2020 model year, with improved aerodynamics, reduced weight, a retuned suspension and enhanced styling elevate the RC F to a new level of performance and refinement.
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“The new RCF and the Track Edition, in particular, benefit from constant development since their original launch. With the latest improvements, these models help further distinguish the F brand by offering fast, durable, highly capable performance cars that rely on a range of technologies to help make their performance accessible to drivers of all skill levels,” said Koji Sato, Executive Vice President, Lexus International.
For the 2020 model year, the Lexus RC F coupe sees a slew of changes aimed at improving the car’s performance while updating the look. Engineers seeking to improve the car’s performance started by by removing weight. At the rear, hollow half shafts are now used in place of the previous solid shafts while up front a pared down intake manifold and a smaller air conditioning compressor remove weight, the company noted.
Changing to aluminum for the toe control brackets and upper suspension support brackets also reduces weight while maintaining stiffness. Following the “stiffer” theme, the RC F uses stiffer bushings for the rear suspension arms and steering rack mounts.
More rigid engine mounts were also used to better transmit the power of the RC F’s normally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, one of the last such engines available in a luxury coupe, produces 472 horsepower and 395 pound feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission carries over, but a higher final drive ratio (3.13 vs 2.93) has been installed to improve off-the-line response.
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The RC F now includes electronic launch control as standard. With a push of the button on the console, the system automatically adjusts the traction and throttle control for maximum acceleration from a stop. All the driver has to do is press and hold the brake pedal, engage the system, floor the accelerator to bring up the engine speed and release the brake. Using the system results in a 0-to-60 mph time of just 4.2 seconds.
Now, for the F Track Edition, engineers got input from racing drivers from IMSA and Super GT to determine what was needed from to move from tarmac to race track. First, they improved the aerodynamics.
Up front, the unique lower spoiler is not only made from carbon fiber to reduce weight, and it increases front end downforce for better grip and more precise steering. At the rear of the car, a fixed rear wing made from carbon fiber replaces the active spoiler offered on the standard RC F. The fixed wing is not only lighter, it does double duty by simultaneously reducing drag and adding downforce.
Like the standard model, weight reduction was a key area of focus for the Track Edition. Preliminary estimates put the total reduction at 176 pounds compared to the previous RC F, but more importantly, the engineers focused on cutting weight that yields the most significant dynamic improvements. This led to keying in on unsprung weight since any weight that can be removed from the mass not supported by the suspension pays huge dividends in handling and steering feel.
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In fact, when combined with the Track Edition’s reduced curb weight, this RC F has the best power-to-weight ratio among its competitors. Couple that with the new electronic launch control system, and the RC F Track Edition is capable of launching from 0-to-60 mph in 3.96 seconds. Both the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition will start production in the second quarter of 2019. Pricing will be announced closer to their on-sale dates.