The Lexus RC F GT3 will compete in the US-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2016, marking the next important step in the development of the purpose-built V8-powered race car.
The RC F GT3 will be campaigned in the series by Michigan-based F Performance Racing, which is owned and operated by Trans-Am Series champion and motor sports veteran Paul Gentilozzi.
It will run a limited campaign in the series as Lexus and F Performance Racing develop the RC F GT3 for a full-scale, two-car entry in the 2017 championship.
The F Performance Racing effort will assist the process of achieving FIA GT3 homologation, which will allow the vehicle to enter a wide variety of championships.
The development and tuning program will also lead to the RC F GT3 becoming available in the future as a customer race car where individuals or teams can purchase the vehicle and run it in racing series around the world.
The RC F GT3 last year raced in the Germany-based VLN endurance series and Japanese Super GT championship as part of the development initiative.
It achieved notable results, including class victory on debut in the VLN series at the Nurburgring.
Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager of Lexus division, said the brand would use this year to lay further foundations for the RC F GT3’s competition future.
“We are excited to reach this agreement with IMSA to campaign the RC F GT3 at such a high level,” he said.
“Our hope is to build a strong foundation for the new F Performance Racing organization during the 2016 season, seizing the opportunity to develop the team and the race vehicle in anticipation of the multi-car effort during the 2017 season,” Bracken added.
Veteran racer Scott Pruett, who drove Lexus-powered prototypes in the 2004-07 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Championship and was integrally involved in the development of both the Lexus LFA supercar and IS F sedan, will drive the RC F GT3 in the series.
Driving duties will be shared with 20-year-old American Sage Karam, who previously drove for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The RC F GT3 will compete initially in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, which is for vehicles that utilize the GT3 regulations of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.
F Performance Racing chief Paul Gentilozzi said series sanctioning body International Motor Sports Association had made provisions to allow the RC F GT3 to compete in the class.
“IMSA has given us a small window to bring the safety and performance of the car to a level commensurate with the competition in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series,” Gentilozzi said.
“We have every intention to race hard and compete for victories. Right now we’re going through extensive testing and engineering analysis, and we hope to be racing as soon as possible,” he added.