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Emil Frey Not Dropping F-Type; Lexus Set for Blancpain GT Debut

Emil Frey not dropping F-Type project; Lexus set for Blancpain GT Debut…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Emil Frey is not giving up on its plans to develop the F-Type GT3 in collaboration with Jaguar, while hoping to debut the Lexus RC F GT3 in Blancpain GT competition later this year.

Lorenz Frey told Sportscar365 back in July that he was pushing to develop a new Jaguar F-Type GT3 car, to replace its current self-built, XK-based GT3 racer, although the project is now on hold due to the manufacturer’s Formula E program. 

“It’s still our dream to develop a Jaguar F-Type GT3 car like before, but it didn’t materialize for this season,” Frey told Sportscar365 in the Paul Ricard paddock.

“We are definitely still pushing for the F-Type, the focus remains fully on the XK for now.

“Jaguar is currently focusing on electric cars and Formula E, so now we have to find a way so we can still do it.”

Frey confirmed he needed the support from the manufacturer to make it happen.

“GT3 got to another level in the last couple of years. The private tuners have now almost disappeared,” he said.

“There’s so much work involved to build a competitive GT3 [car] these days. Without the support from the manufacturer, with all the technical requirements, data and the financial input, it’s just not possible anymore to do it as a private team.”

Despite this setback, the Swiss team has grown its Blancpain GT involvement to two nationally homologated XKs for the entire Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season.

“We introduced a second car at Spa last year, which had a lot of new developments in it. Both cars are now on the same level,” Frey said.

Both Pro Cup lineups have remained almost unchanged apart from two new entries.

The No. 14 Jaguar is still driven by Frey, Albert Costa Balboa and Stéphane Ortelli, while Christian Klien, Jonathan Hirschi and Marco Seefried will pilot the sister No. 114 entry.

Frey might sit out one or two races to focus on running the team; fellow Swiss racer Philipp Frommenwiler would replace him on those occasions.

The team is targeting an expansion into the Sprint Cup next year and might enter one or two races at the end of the season in order to familiarize itself with the format.

They’re also involved with the development of the new Lexus RC F GT3, with the latest evolution of the car is already confirmed to take part in International GT Open this year.

“The target is definitely to do both Blancpain Endurance and Sprint with the Lexus next year. That’s why we are open to doing some Blancpain races this season,” Frey said.

“We are not sure [when it will debut in Blancpain GT]. It will depend on the performance of the car and the level we’ll reach by the middle of the season.

“The new car will arrive really late, right before the season starts. So for sure there will be some learning and development with the new Lexus.

“We hope we will be ready for some Blancpain [Endurance] and Sprint races later this year.”

It’s understood the Lexus has not yet completed SRO’s Balance of Performance tests, which is mandatory for participation in Blancpain GT. 

However, a mid-season BoP test is scheduled for mid-July, prior to the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which could certify the Lexus for series competition in the second half of the year.

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Alex

    March 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    This team seem to have an identity crisis. Which is it? Lexus or Jaguar? Why are they still racing a Jag when they are one of the selected factory supported Lexus teams for development? Seems a bit silly to complain about not having a factory jag program, yet is supported by another manufacture…

    • JVS

      March 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      What are you rambling on about? Lexus cannot even compete where the team wants to be, Frey is also a Jaguar dealer, and can do whatever they can afford to do.
      Complaining about extra diversity in the field. There’s usually plenty of silly comments around, but come on.

      • DEJ

        March 14, 2017 at 6:31 pm

        All he is doing is trying to get the most $$$ from either Jag, or Lexus. All about the money.Thats what these people do.

      • Alex

        March 14, 2017 at 8:21 pm

        Silly? Please clarify this for me then. Is the team paying Lexus to develop their RCF GT3 car? If they just ran the Jag’s it would make sense to comment on their troubles to build an F-Type GT3 car themselves.

        I’m talking about the team and their conflict of their statements, not diversity in the series. Obviously I welcome more cars….

        • StueyB83

          March 15, 2017 at 8:16 pm

          Emil Frey Group is an Importer/Distributor for both Lexus and Jaguar.

          Of preference, they prefer to race Jags – they have a history of doing so.

          Also in their history – they race Toyota’s. Lexus supplies pays Frey (or provides them great discounts) to help run and develop the car as they have the experience demonstrated via the Jag program.

          At the moment, both programs dovetail. I would suspect that Frey is using the Lexus program as leverage to Jaguar to allow them to develop the F-Type.

          As soon as they get the green light to do that, the Lexus program will move on (Lexus should have a reasonable sales base by then).

  2. Andy

    March 15, 2017 at 7:07 am

    The current XK project is self run. There is little or no involvement from Jaguar at all in the team at the moment. The Emil Frey project is very much an in-house deal and I applaud them for that. They wanted to bring the F-Type into GT3 but due to the level at which GT3 is now operating, you really need factory assistance to be really competitive. So they want support either financially or technically from Jaguar before the project goes any further. Hopefully they’ll get it.

    The Lexus is being run in the VLN only at the moment and being co-developed by Farnbacher racing. So it is eligible for Blancpain but it would need to be homologated and BoP’d first.

    • TF110

      March 15, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      That’s not entirely true. The RC F GT3 is running in the US by 3GT racing in IMSA (2 cars), it’s ran in Japan in Super GT GT300 class (2 cars) and in Europe with Emil Frey and Farnbacher in GTOpen and possibly Blancpain and VLN (2-4 cars).

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