Under the Toyota umbrella, you have Toyota, Scion, and Lexus. If we asked you which brand has the biggest connection with performance today, what would you pick? We're still waiting on the FT-1 aka Supra successor from Toyota, but other than that, there isn't anything too thrilling. Under Scion, there's the very popular and tuner-friendly FR-S; however, the new iA and iM are a far cry from performance cars... Then there's Lexus—a brand that's been redefining itself since '08 ever since it launched the 416hp, V-8-powered IS F. In '12, the company continued to push the envelope by capturing audiences around the world with its 553hp, V-10-powered LFA supercar. And within the last couple of years, Lexus has celebrated milestones such as its first North American race program in IMSA for '16, as well as offered two flagship vehicles that represent what "performance luxury" is all about—the GS F and RC F.
I've been pretty lucky to get a good amount of seat time behind the wheels of both the GS F and RC F. Last year, we had the opportunity to take a modified RC F on the final leg of the Gumball 3000 rally. I've also piloted a modified GS F on the Targa Trophy rally. On both rallies, the car performed exactly how you'd want it to—responsive, torquey, tight, and aggressive for spirited driving, while also retaining its luxury qualities for long road trips and day-to-day driving. But with all that said, what your local Lexus dealer won't boast to you about is how capable the new GS F and RC F are on the track. I was able to experience firsthand on three separate road courses how the cars performed when pushed to their maximum limits. These "F" cars aren't the Lexus our grandparents once drove, but they are the new face of Lexus with an arsenal of performance behind them. Which brings us to this orange beauty...
The builder of the RC F before you is none other than our good friend Gordon Ting of Beyond Marketing. Gordon's been a crucial player for the Lexus team when it deals with significant project cars. How can we forget his 600+hp, 2JZ-powered IS that we drove from Miami to New York on Gumball 3000. We also can't deny how sexy his red Rocket Bunny-dressed RC was when we it featured in the March '15 issue. There's been a few more of his builds that have brought attention to Lexus in the aftermarket community, but this RC F is his latest and greatest creation.
I've mentioned the Lexus RC F and GS F are able track cars, but Gordon has taken this brand-new coupe and turned it into a dedicated racer. Starting from the inside, it's been semi-stripped with the back seats and certain interior panels removed. A custom six-point rollcage and rear cover built by Evasive Motorsport are dead giveaways that this car isn't a street car anymore. The plush factory seats have been ditched for Sparco Grid Competition buckets; however, the factory dash and steering wheel have been retained.
As far as performance goes, there isn't a whole lot available for the RC F as of yet, but all the necessary bolt-ons have been added to give the RC F a winning edge, such as the KW coilovers, larger Brembo rotors, GReddy exhaust, and Takeda intake.
On the outside, the RC F was the first to receive a custom Pandem widebody GT kit—a new line similar to what we're accustomed to seeing with Rocket Bunny, yet still under the TRA Kyoto brand. At each corner are 20-inch Volk Racing TE37 Ultra wheels while meaty Bridgestone tires provide more than enough grip for this coupe.
While out on a recent track day at Chuckwalla Raceway hosted by Lexus, we had the chance to snap some photos of the car in its natural habitat. Unfortunately, Gordon's RC F has a few more shows on its tour before we might see it pushed to its limit. Don't worry, though, Gordon reassures this RC F wasn't made just to look pretty, but able to be driven on the track at any given time—just how Lexus intended it to be.
My Boy Blue
Just one year prior, Gordon built a tamer version of the RC F with a custom lip kit designed by Evasive Motorsport, Advan wheels, GReddy bolt-ons, and a 50-shot of nitrous. We've probably had the most seat time in that car as well having taken it on the U.S. leg of the Gumball 3000 rally from Reno to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Lady in Red
Also in the same year, we witnessed Gordon's beautiful RC F Sport (not an RC F) steal the show at SEMA. It's simply a full Rocket Bunny car, including Rocket Bunny wheels, but looks so damn sexy!
The baddest Lexus project Gordon has put together is this "IS 340"—3.4L stroked 2JZ-GTE swap pushing close to 700 ponies. We drove this bad boy from Miami to New York on Gumball 3000 two years ago—you should have seen the look on the Ferrari owners' faces!