The relentless pursuit of perfection has led Lexus to consistently set new industry standards in design, engineering and construction.
For the past decade, this mind set has included the development of high-performance models on challenging race tracks around the world. The majority of testing work is carried out on Japan’s famous Fuji Speedway, which gave rise to a new ‘F’ designation for our specialist high-performance derivatives.
Introduced in October 2007, when Lexus hosted a press event at the Fuji Speedway and revealed the imminent launch of the new Lexus IS F luxury sports saloon, our ‘F’ models are more driver-focused and passion-arousing than any other cars in our company’s history.
Here, we take a look at ten of the top moments from our ten years of ‘F’. Each title is a link to its relevant blog post, so please click through for more information.
They say that time flies when you’re having fun – a comment that is entirely appropriate when you’re being the wheel of this exhilarating new special edition, produced to commemorate ten years of F-marque models. Dubbed the RC F 10th Anniversary, this exclusive model arrives at the same time as the RC F GT3 race car is achieving outright victories in international competition around the world, including the Blancpain GT Series in Europe and IMSA sportscar racing series in the USA.
Designed to stand out with the assistance of unique features, the RC F 10th Anniversary edition features exclusive Mercury Grey matt paint finish, gloss black exterior detailing, sumptuous blue leather upholstery, and Blue Carbon interior trim to accompany its 457bhp V8 powerplant.
9. Lexus RC F finishes first in class at 24 hours of Nürburgring
In 2016, the Gazoo Racing team entered three cars in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race: Lexus RC and Lexus RC F, and a C-HR Racing prototype from parent company Toyota.
Among a total race field of 158 cars, the #36 Lexus RC F took 24th place overall and finished first in the SP-Pro class. It was entered by Gazoo Racing alongside the experienced TOM’S racing team, a partnership formed with the aim of learning from the passion and know-how of the veteran TOM’S mechanics.
The Lexus F brand has become synonymous with high-performance engineering. Each successive model – from the Lexus IS F saloon and LFA supercar to the current RC F coupe – has been as exhilarating to use on track as it has on public roads.
In this interview with its chief engineer, Yukihiko Yaguchi, we discovered that the Lexus GS F does not deviate from this clear philosophy. From its debut imagery on track to its exhibition drives up the famous Goodwood hill climb, the competitive nature of our high-performance V8 four-door saloon was clearly announced.
7. Lexus Festival of F
In recent years, Lexus has been focusing on making cars that are more rewarding to drive and stunning to behold. In 2014, a special two-day Festival of F took place in London’s Canary Wharf to display the range of ‘F’ and ‘F Sport’ Lexus models that have been designed with keen drivers in mind.
The Festival of F saw the Lexus IS 300h F Sport sports saloon, NX 300h compact SUV, fire-breathing RC F, and LFA supercar go on display outside Canary Wharf tube station, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with these exciting models.
The Transfăgărășan pass across the Făgăraș Mountains in Romania is widely known as Ceaușescu’s Folly, and few places are more picturesque than this. Built on the instruction of the country’s communist leader, Nicolae Ceaușescu, the strategic value of this route through the Southern Carpathians was evidently higher than its financial or human cost, being built to ensure quick military access in case of Soviet invasion.
Though this 56-mile pass is without question the quickest land route through the Făgăraș Mountains, its sinuous nature and challenging topography has also earned it a place in the list of the world’s best roads. Which for Polish journalist Michał Sztorc meant it was the ideal destination for his test of the Lexus RC F Carbon, not to mention an ideal natural backdrop for the car’s dramatic Solar Flare paintwork.
As discussed in our interview with Yukihiko Yaguchi, high-performance Lexus F brand models are designed to deliver handling and safety advantages in all driving situations. These qualities are clearly evidenced on track events; even more so when the weather is inclement, narrowing the margin for error and increasing the risk of an accident.
With this in mind, it was into a spectacular but dangerously rain-soaked environment at Fuji Speedway that we sent a film crew to visualise some of the key performance and stylistic features of the forthcoming Lexus GS F.
The arrival of the marque’s high-performance F line, introduced by the Lexus IS F saloon, caught the attention of police managers for covering road crimes. Specially trained officers from Humberside Police and vehicle dynamics experts spent 12 months evaluating a number of high-performance vehicles to enable the Roads Crime Section to target organised criminals in the area.
Following this process the decision was taken to purchase a Lexus IS F as it proved to capable of remaining exceptionally stable in high-speed operational environments, despite carrying the extra weight of £30,000 worth of on-board computers and operational equipment.
3. Lexus RC F – a sound idea
Of course the best way of experiencing the 5.0-litre V8 fitted to the Lexus RC F is to get behind the wheel and drive it.
But in the video embedded in the post linked to above, we set out to create the next best thing – hearing it for real using binaural recording technology. So grab the best pair of headphones you can find, turn up the volume and enjoy the experience of knowing what the RC F sounds like – launched at top speed through a tunnel.
What are the chances? There were only 500 examples of the Lexus LFA produced, and fewer still Toyota 2000GTs. And yet, on a rare meeting of the two, they’re wearing the same outfit. When we spotted this great image of these two halo models coming face-to-face at Japanese Nostalgic Car, we just had to shout about it.
In fact, when this post was published back in 2013, the Lexus LFA had been very much in the spotlight, not least because Jeremy Clarkson had recently commented: “It’s the best car I’ve ever driven, it really is.”
The Lexus RC F is a car engineered to flatter and improve a driver’s natural wheelmanship. Whether it’s blasting down an arrow-straight motorway or careering along a ribbon-like mountain pass, the high-performance coupe possesses such a breadth of talent that it remains in its element, wherever its nose is pointed.