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Lexus Ends Support of European GT3 Program

Lexus ends support of RC F GT3 program in Europe; other regional projects to continue…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Lexus has ended its support of the RC F GT3 program in Europe after four seasons while the manufacturer’s North American and Japanese racing projects are set to continue.

Lexus Europe confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that the Toyota brand has “reached the natural end to its direct support” of the GT3 program that started in 2017.

Tech 1 Racing was the primary team running the Lexus RC F GT3 in Europe this year, with the French squad fielding a single car in the Silver Cup category of GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS.

The car took two overall pole positions in Sprint Cup courtesy of Thomas Neubauer and competed in Endurance Cup with Aurelien Panis and Timothe Buret also driving.

Lexus started its European GT3 involvement in partnership with Emil Frey Racing, which delivered the brand’s only Endurance Cup victory in the 2018 Paul Ricard 1000km.

Emil Frey then switched from Lexus to Lamborghini for 2019, while the Tech 1 squad committed to an Am Cup entry with the RC F package to keep the car on the grid.

The end of the European Lexus program comes almost two weeks after Bentley announced the withdrawal of its official GT3 program backing at the end of this year.

“As the brand’s strategic direction evolves, keeping Lexus at the forefront of automotive electrification, Lexus Europe will focus on other ways to engage with customers across the continent,” read the company statement.

“The RC F GT3 is expected to continue competing in GT3 series in North America and Japan, and could yet return to European competition with independently-funded teams.

“Lexus Europe extends its thanks to Tech 1 Racing and Panis Racing for the positive cooperation since 2019 and wishes the team all the best in its future endeavors.

“This does not impact the regular RC F model that will continue to be part of Lexus’ lineup in Europe.”

Vasser Sullivan Racing has already confirmed two Lexus entries for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona category 2021, while a couple of teams ran the car full-time in Super GT this year.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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