Toyota Gazoo Racing’s GR GT3 Concept is likely to serve as “inspiration” for a future Lexus GT3 car according to Lexus Motorsports manager Jeff Bal and Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson, who are “quite confident” of having a successor to the Lexus RC F GT3.
Unveiled last month at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the GR GT3 Concept has not been based on any current Toyota or Lexus production car, although it’s believed to form the foundation of a yet-to-be-announced model that would also see GT3 competition by as early as 2024.
When asked by Sportscar365 if the GR GT3 Concept could be of a sign of what’s to come from Lexus, Wilson said: “The easy answer is yes. You can connect the dots and be pretty optimistic.
“I’m quite confident that there will be a successor to our Lexus RC F. From a timeline standpoint, we don’t know yet.
“We’re now in our sixth year with the RC F. I think our last Evo was 2020. It’s getting long in the tooth but if you check the FIA homologation website, it’s homologated through 2026.
“That would be a worst-case scenario. I’m hopeful of seeing something well before that.”
Bal, meanwhile, indicated that a new GT3 car could debut in 2024, although it has yet to be confirmed.
“That’s the target right now,” Bal told Sportscar365. “They’re making great progress on the development of the car. We’re hoping for 2024 and testing before then.”
What’s unclear is the exact badging of the car and whether it could feature different nameplates in certain regions, similar to the Acura NSX GT3, which runs as a Honda outside of North America.
“We’re hoping it’s got an L on the front of it and on the back,” Bal said. “But it’s a Gazoo Racing GT3 concept.
“It’s very similar to a lot of the conversation that TRD and Lexus and Toyota have been involved with here. I can’t tell you for sure it’s going to be a Lexus-badged.
“We hope that it is. There’s a lot of equity in the ‘F’ moniker, especially now that we’re having success on track.”
Wilson said Lexus’ level of recent success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has ensured a “long term” future for the brand in top-level sports car racing.
“Lexus in North America and Lexus internationally understands how important competition is to their brand and to building the credibility behind it from a performance perspective,” he said.
“Over the last couple of decades we’ve sort of had these fits and starts.
“Those days are gone. The intention is to compete like our competitors have done for decades and decades. To me, that’s fundamental.
“It’s making sure there’s a long term strong foundation and that’s the wonderful thing.”
Wilson: New GT3 Car Design to Be ‘Very Strategic’
Unlike the Lexus RC F, which was essentially reverse-engineered into a GT3 car, Wilson indicated that its next-generation GT3 car will be designed and built in parallel to the future production model.
“I’ve talked a lot about the car that we’re racing right now and how that has served as a critical lesson for Toyota globally in the right way to bring a GT3 car to market,” he said.
“Unfortunately with our RC F, that was an afterthought; the production vehicle came first and the thought was, ‘Well, why don’t we race this car?’
“What we’ve come to appreciate is that before you put your first line on paper, you decide that’s intended to be a GT3 car.
“What I can assure you is that whatever comes from that concept — and more than likely there’s something behind it — it’s going to be done very intentionally and very strategically.
“When Toyota globally is ready to talk about that, you’ll see more about that.”
Wilson continued: “The other neat thing that’s come as a function of our partnership and level of contribution to the ongoing development of our Lexus RC F, we’ve gained a significant amount of credibility with our colleagues in Japan.
“We are talking with them regularly and feeding lessons and helping make sure that from a design specification standpoint, whatever follows, we’re in the right place.
“The most important thing for us is being a part of the development. That’s the respect we’ve garnered and the respect for North America and how that important that is for any global GT3 car.”