• May 14th 2006 at 1:08PM
  • 8
Team Lexus has been working feverishly to develop the new IS 350 racecar for the ALMS GT2 class, and it looks like they're getting closer to the start line.

According to Lexus motorsports manager Philip Gaviola, the team expects to begin testing the new car in the next few weeks, ahead of a race debut in July. That means we can likely expect the Lexus to appear either at the Grand Prix of Utah in mid-July, or at the Grand Prix of Portland at the end of the month. In any event, its unlikely that Lexus will give the nod for the team to go racing until the car is able to turn competitive lap times in testing.

As you might expect, the specs for the IS 350 GT2 are being kept under wraps, but a press release suggests a racing weight of less than 2,800 pounds, propelled by a "more than 450 hp" production-based V6. Regardless of the level of preparation, Team Lexus will face an uphill battle joining the series mid-way through the season, particularly in the very tough GT2 class, where it will face a host of Porsche GT3s, the Panoz Esperante GTLM, BMW's M3 and the very quick Ferrari F430GT. No official word yet, but expect another newcomer to join the series later in the year - rumors are rampant that BMW will field a Z4 M Coupe.

[Source: American Le Mans Series via Paddock Talk]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I think some of the apparent width of that front end is attributable to the camera lens that was use for the featured pic. Therefore, probably very deliberate.

      I bet a clean straight-on would give a more realistic perspective.

      • 9 Years Ago
      Great to see Lexus go racing. I agree about the fender flares though.

      More importantly I'm worried about the suspension. The new IS doesn't seem to handle very well without VDIM (ie VDIM was an integral part of the IS's handling design) and that'll have to change for racing. I forsee a difficult season.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It looks like an hawiian stingray or a hoover vacuum cleaner. lex really needs to make that widebody nooot quiiite so wide.
      • 9 Years Ago
      gbh At first I was hoping that but if you look at the hood and roof line it doesn't seem the camera is doing anything special.
      • 9 Years Ago
      With the front being that wide, it looks like some dumbass FWD POS. UGH! Please tell me it's just the picture and not real.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It's not wide! It's festivly plump!

      Now to go to the kitchen to get me some pie!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Perhaps a hint of the Supra - just the engine technology and that stuff?
      • 9 Years Ago
      It'll be good for Lexus to have a few shorter races before Petit Le Mans at the end of September to hammer out some of the issues. The big three races of ALMS are Sebring, Le Mans, and Petit Le Mans -- all where reliability is just as important as speed. The two E46 M3s have not finished either of the two races so far. Three times being retired because of a gearbox problem.
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