We like the Lexus LC at PistonHeads; flawed, certainly - name a Lexus that isn't somehow - and yet distinctive, fantastically opulent and great to drive. It isn't trying to be a German copycat, and it's all the more likeable for it. Now Lexus is taking it racing...
Yes, the 4.8m long, 1.9m wide LC is to hit the Nurburgring this May for the 2018 24-Hour. Should be difficult to pass at least! Details are pretty limited at the moment, Lexus only releasing one picture and stating that the car has been "adapted to race specification by Lexus mechanics and engineers and makes uses of advanced development technologies". Encouragingly, whatever those technologies are will feature in future sports cars, and the race car keeps the road car's 5.0-litre V8.
At the moment Lexus is planning to enter the car in the SP-Pro class of the N24, where it has previously enjoyed success: the Gazoo RC-F won that category in 2016, and the LFA Code X in 2014. It should be noted that the SP-Pro class is never exactly jam packed with entrants - in 2017 it didn't actually feature - but a class win at the Nordschleife is still a win...
Toyota will surely face stronger competition in this year's WRC, where its new Yaris will compete against M-Sport's Fiesta, Citroen's C3 and Hyundai's i20. With powertrains unchanged from 2017, Toyota's focus on this year's competitor has been on aerodynamic enhancement - so no, your eyes don't deceive you, this Yaris does look even wilder than last year. The front bumper and wings are said to be new, and the cooling system has been updated to deal with the warmer rallies.
Toyota Team Principal Tommi Makinen - that still feels very strange to say - said of the new car: "We saw last year that the Toyota Yaris WRC was already capable of winning rallies... but the competition also allowed us to discover areas where we can improve."
Following an Autosport debut, the three 2018 Yaris WRCs of Jari-Matti Latvala/Miika Anttilla, Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm and Ott Tanka/Martin Jarveoja will take to the Monte Carlo stages on January 25th. Could 2018 be Toyota's year?
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