For the past several years, Lexus has been competing in the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb using a specially-developed IS F sedan called the CCS-R. For this year’s 'Race to the Clouds', Lexus has prepared a new car based on its RC F coupe. The new car is the RC F GT concept, and it may just preview a new, more hardcore version of the RC F that could be built to rival BMW’s upcoming M4 GTS as well as the eventual Black Series version of Mercedes-AMG’s C63.
The RC F GT concept has been developed using knowledge gained in developing and racing the RC F GT3 and has benefited primarily from substantial weight savings. One of the RC F road car’s major shortcomings is its portly 3,958-pound curb weight, but in developing the RC F GT concept the engineers managed to shave around 800 lbs from that figure.
Key modifications include a stripped-out interior as well as polycarbonate windows and carbon fiber body panels. The sturdy composite material is used for the hood, roof, trunk lid, door panels, front and rear over fenders, front canards, rear spoiler, interior trim and dashboard.
The RC F road car’s powertrain has been retained, meaning a 5.0-liter V-8 engine up front and drive going to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. However, tuning of the system ensures peak output is higher than the RC F’s stock 467 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque rating.
Lexus hasn’t mentioned a production version just yet; rather, the automaker says engineers will use the RC F GT concept to test the engine, transmission and chassis components in various conditions, experimenting with different tuning ideas, settings and software. The same was done with the previous IS F CCS-R, which was used to develop key components such as the engine and transmission for the new RC F.
Driving the RC F GT concept in this year’s Pikes Peak, which takes place Sunday, June 28, will be British 24 Hours of Le Mans-winner Justin Bell. This historic event, now in its 93rd running, is a race against the clock that tests man and machine with the changing elements, altitude, and a treacherous 12.42-mile, 156-turn, now fully-paved course that winds up the peak from 9,390 feet up to the 14,115-ft summit. The current record for the event is an insane 8:13.878, set in 2013 by Peugeot and Sébastien Loeb in the Unlimited class.