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Lexus LF-A (2010) testing gathers pace

Published: 22 April 2008

Lexus will enter a race-spec LF-A in the May 2008 Nurburgring 24-hour race. The bewinged supercar, caught here by CAR's spy photographers, is being entered by the R&D team at Lexus and Toyota in the best signal yet that the Japanese supercar will get the green light.

The engineers have recently stepped up development work on the LF-A project, prompting speculation that the production version will be unveiled sooner rather than later. We've waited three years since the car was first shown as a concept car in 2005 and it's been wheeled out at a variety of motor shows since then, but officials have refused to be drawn on when the real car could be launched. Worry is, it's now growing a beard...

The development team has been unusually busy in April 2008, as it continues to test a batch of prototypes on roads and tracks around Europe. These latest spyshots from the Nurburgring in Germany and the surrounding area reveal a car that's changed little since previous scoops, but the engineers are clearly experimenting with different aero solutions - including the mother of all wings on the race-spec car (first picture, above right).

As well as the rear wing, the race LF-A's front bumper and air dam are new, the door mirrors are more streamlined, the bonnet has quick-access pins and the fuel filler has been upgraded to a quick-fill system.

Lexus LF-A: on a wing and a prayer

Other models we've observed make do with a smaller, retractable spoiler - and this distinguishes the roadgoing car from the racer. If successful at the Nurburgring, insiders say, Lexus is considering entering a team at Le Mans to do battle with the diesel-powered Audis and Peugeots.

It's clear that the show-off exhaust pipe layout pioneered on the IS-F performance saloon is fast becoming a Lexus trademark on its faster cars. Otherwise, little has changed visibly from our earlier scoops. Tellingly, Lexus is benchmarking the LF-A against the Porsche 911, clearly visible in one of our new scoop photos.

The LF-A is expected in production by 2010, according to a well placed source CAR Online spoke to today.

F1 pace, Lexus grace

We know that the LF-A is due to run a V10 of just under 5.0 litres in capacity and developing a solid 500bhp. That's enough for 200mph performance, but Lexus is believed to be developing a petrol-electric version too. A hybrid LF-A could become the first truly green supercar on sale, trumping the rather far-flung ideas being touted in Maranello.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet