With its racing plans in Japan and Europe solidified for 2016, Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus is narrowing in on a decision on which team will run its factory RC F GT3 program in North America.
RACER has confirmed the Japanese manufacturer continues to work toward the introduction of the RC F GT3 in America, and has reportedly been developing its competition plan for almost a year. Six or more proposals are said to have been requested and received from potential entrants, and most are from teams currently competing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Longstanding relationships between Toyota and NASCAR, and Lexus with the former Grand-Am Rolex Series (now IMSA), suggest the RC F GT3 factory campaign will be limited to the IMSA’s TUDOR Championship. IMSA will convert its current GT Daytona class to full GT3 specifications next year, allowing Lexus and a multitude of other GT3 manufacturers to compete in its endurance racing series.
Lexus USA VP Jeff Bracken was forthright about the brand’s intentions to race in America while addressing the audience at the North American International Auto Show in January, stating Lexus has “The itch to go racing again.”
Bracken added: “This year Lexus is developing this RCF GT3 with the hopes of competing in the FIA GT3 category in Europe and then bring this V8 racecar to a yet-to-be-determined series in the United States in 2016.”
Of the rumored teams being considered by Lexus, Michael Shank Racing, Brumos Racing, AIM autosport, Riley Technologies, Walker Racing, RSR Racing, and one IndyCar team have been mentioned as candidates for the factory-funded effort. Once a testing program is completed, the factory program is expected to debut next year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
It’s unclear whether customer versions of the RC F GT3 would also be sold for use in other North American organizations like the SCCA or Pirelli World Challenge series where GT3 machinery is permitted.