24hour runs to Vegas are not uncommon ‘round these parts. Sam does it on a weekly basis; I do it maybe three times a year. But when Lexus propositions you to go for only a few short hours at the track, you say, “F it” and go. The F is a good thing, however, in the Lexus world and any model equipped with the premium F Sport range of upgrade packages is a surefire good time. What could sweeten the pot even more? What if we name-dropped the LFA and IS F CCS-R? Loads more fun than the C-squad at any gentleman's club around 8 a.m., that's for sure…
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a massive sprawl of land. Motorsports fans usually come here for any number of reasons: NASCAR, weekly drag races, drifting, race exotic rentals, so on and so forth. Those who like to party know it best as the home of EDC. I prefer to step foot on these grounds when it's time to go road racing. While we weren't given highly modified race cars, F Sport models are still a good improvement over stock, as long as you're equipped with the upgrades. But more on that later. While most people lined up to do their runs, I jumped at the opportunity to ride with my friend, Ken Gushi in his Pikes Peak IS F CCS-R, that orange thing you've been looking at and thinking "oh shit" for the past couple of seconds. And when you're sitting shotgun with a driver who knows you, you get a few bonus "oh shit" moments thrown in for fun. It's clear that Gushi is a master at what he does; though this isn't a drift demo, his chops as a driver are solid. He muscled through the course brilliantly and with such finesse—there was a brief moment when the car did slip from his control but that knowledge of drifting allowed him to bring it right back. We laughed the moment off and I was back in the staging lanes to go drive the standard F Sport Lexus cars.
As you can probably guess, I have driving skills that rival Ken marvelously…if he were a four year old and drove with one hand tied behind his back. But that didn't stop me from enjoying what the F is capable of, something any one of us normal folk can do. Simply select the S or S+ drive mode (wherever applicable) out from Normal and get busy. The suspension tightened up noticeably and the larger brake calipers found themselves right at home. On the autocross testing portion, these differences were even more apparent as the tighter course forces you to use the car in a way that really tests its handling/braking limitations. Again, not to toot my own horn, but my scores were somewhere in the middle of the pack, ahead of Motor Trend and Import Tuner's editorial staff.
I love saving the best stuff for last, though. The LFA: oddly enough, I've driven this more times than I should be lucky enough to be allowed. My first time was during its press launch and several dozen journalists were all given two laps with a professional driver sitting shotgun; it was probably one of the most well-balanced and powerful cars I'd ever driven at that kind of speed, truly amazing. I can't go into full detail about my second experience, other than to say that I'd like to thank the individuals who graciously allowed me to have 20 minutes with it in any fashion and said to "not fuck it up, please." I can honestly tell you that 20 minutes have never gone so fast before in my life (and for the record, I didn’t fuck it up). The third time’s the charm (and hopefully not the last), and much like my first time, it was a demo pass with a professional followed up with two laps of my own. That balance is still there. The power, raw—the engine winds up so nicely and I shift as though I have no other care in the world other than to think, "I'm driving an LFA and you're not."
And as I brought the LFA to a halt, the dream ended once again. I left the track, out of the glitz and glam of Vegas, and went right back to normal life. Lexus proved their point well and it's no longer the question of "what the F?" Now it's "how the F do I get the F?"