After building the world’s first professional Lexus RC F drift car, nobody expected its creators to replace that supercharged V8 monster with an even more radical model. Yet here it is – the most powerful and advanced Lexus drift car on the planet.
This must-see sequel represents the second, high-profile collaboration between Lexus, its distributor in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Red Bull athlete Ahmad Daham. The project was designed to build on the regional success of the team’s outgoing RC F with the development of a new, world-class drift car that would stun the global drift community.
And stun it certainly does. The new Lexus vaporises rubber by producing a mind-bending 1,200 horsepower through a vehicle that is an entire tonne lighter and around 260% more powerful than the already high-performance standard Lexus RC F coupe.
It achieves this feat through a combination of featherweight carbon Kevlar exterior body panels and the introduction of a highly-tuned, turbocharged 2JZ straight-six motor from a Japanese domestic market Lexus GS built in the late Nineties. The components are outlined below.
Interestingly, five-time Middle East drift champion Daham reveals that the influence behind this project was more than just an ambition to achieve world-leading levels of power and speed. Inspired by the skills and craftsmanship of Lexus takumi masters, the team displayed an obsessive attention to detail that has elevated its execution to the realms of exceptional, even within a region renowned for ultimate-level tuner builds.
“We learned a lot in 2019 as we kept a kaizen philosophy in our research and development. Building a car like this took so much effort [but it] is so much fun to drive and I cannot wait to push it to its limit. I look forward to another successful season and am confident that with this partnership we will be able to achieve all our objectives,” said Daham.
2020 Lexus RC F drift car specifications
|ENGINE||3.0-litre 2JZ-GTE straight-six rebuilt with CP forged pistons, BC H-beam connecting rods, lightweight BC billet crankshaft; race-spec BC 272-degree camshafts, BC valvetrain, cylinder head CNC-machined to stage four, 10:1 compression ratio; Titan dry sump; Hypertune big-port intake manifold, Hypertune anodised cam covers; HGK engine mount|
|FUEL SYSTEM||Radium Engineering fuel cell and surge tank, Radium Engineering fuel pressure regulator and fuel filter, 1700cc fuel injectors; 200hp Nitrous Express injection|
|BREATHING||Garrett GTX3584RS turbo, Tial 60mm wastegate, custom 3.5-inch oval exhaust system|
|COOLING||HGK radiator with carbon fibre shroud, dual Spal fans, dual Mocal 25-row oil coolers, Garrett 3.5-inch intercooler|
|ELECTRONICS||Link Thunder ECU, Link digital dash, Link fuel/oil/temperature/fuel pressure sensors, Link EGT sensor, Link wide-band sensor, Link four-bar MAP sensor, Link four-port boost solenoid|
|DRIVETRAIN||Samsonas four-speed sequential transmission, Competition Clutch, Winters Performance quick-change differential, carbon fibre driveshaft and axles|
|CHASSIS||FIA-spec roll-cage, stitch-welded body seams, custom front and rear crash bars; 9.5×18” (front) and 10.5×18” (rear) Rays 57CR alloy wheels with 255/35 and 285/35 Toyo R888RD tyres respectively; BC Racing coilovers, Figs Engineering suspension arms and knuckles; Wilwood six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) brake callipers with drilled discs, ASD hydraulic handbrake|
|EXTERIOR||Rocket Bunny wide-body conversion fabricated from carbon Kevlar, carbon Kevlar roof and doors|
|INTERIOR||Sparco carbon Kevlar bucket seats, Schroth six-point harnesses, Sparco steering wheel, part-flocked carbon fibre dashboard, Tilton pedal assembly|
|STATS||1,200hp output, 9,000rpm rev limit, 1,250kg gross vehicle weight with 47:53 distribution|
How do you build it?
Last year, five-time Middle East drift champion and Guinness World Record holder Ahmad Daham built what was considered to be the world’s first and most powerful drift-prepared Lexus RC F. But for 2020, the Jordanian Red Bull athlete was commissioned to convert another Lexus drift car; only this time one that carried even more superlatives.
Where do you begin with a commission like that? Ultimately, as Daham explains in the video below, it was through a combination of two factors: more power and less weight. However, it must be said that the luxury of a little more time than the 70-day gestation of the previous car was helpful too.
What the above video doesn’t reveal is some of the drama surrounding the development of this project. Work commenced in January, with an operational direction devised from Daham’s experience driving the previous, supercharged V8 RC F in the Oman International Drift Championship.
A build schedule was planned and the fabricators and mechanics were lined up and ready to start. But then the global COVID-19 pandemic hit and martial law were suddenly enforced in Jordan. Lockdown banned vehicles from using the roads and all ordered parts that had not yet been delivered became stuck in transit. The schedule was thrown into disarray.
However, as soon as non-motorised travel was allowed, the team members cycled into the workshop to ensure the project maintained some momentum. For Daham, that meant an additional 90-minute exercise every day. But on the plus side, the situation also removed all previously scheduled drift fixtures that would have interrupted the workflow. This allowed the team more time to iron out some of the finer details and elevate the overall quality of the build.
Regarding the key factors surrounding power and weight, both elements were initially addressed after a thorough analysis of the stripped and seam-welded bodyshell. A local specialist was commissioned to recreate the RC F’s exterior bodywork – including a wide-body conversion – in carbon Kevlar material. This switch from steel to super-light composite shaved more than 500kg on its own.
Meanwhile, the power part of the equation was provided by exchanging the RC F’s naturally aspirated V8 for a highly tuned version of the iconic Toyota/Lexus 2JZ-GTE straight six. Tuner support for this legendary motor is unrivalled, which meant the team was able to cherry-pick products from an immense catalogue of options, many of which have already proved themselves within the drift scene.
Headlining the all-important forced induction system is a single Garrett GTX3584 turbocharger, claimed to be the only mid-frame turbo on the market capable of producing a four-figure power output. While that moderate size makes the turbo highly responsive, a 200-shot of nitrous oxide is used to wind it up like a hyperactive teenager. A triple-pump fuel system is then employed to feed the cylinders.
The engine’s prodigious 1,200hp output is delivered through a competition-spec twin-plate clutch into a straight-cut, four-speed Samsonas sequential gearbox. This torque, in turn, is distributed to the rear wheels through a Winters differential. Interestingly, this tough aftermarket unit is designed to be removed in just five minutes, which allows the team to quickly switch ratios to best suit the track or competition.
Race-spec Wilwood brakes and Japan’s finest Rays Engineering 57CR forged alloy wheels reduce unsprung weight to a minimum. Meanwhile, the combination of Figs Engineering suspension alignment components and three-way adjustable BC Racing coilovers allow Daham to fine-tune the RC F’s steering and geometry for the perfect drift set-up.
All information is correct at the time of publishing.