As we watched these clips of a camouflaged racer running laps at Motegi — and more laps at Fuji — we felt like bird watchers surprised by the call of some rarely-seen warbler whose population has been decimated — “You don’t hear that song much anymore.” Of course, it takes a big bird to belt out the song we refer to, whatever V8-sounding lump is powering a coupe expected to be a Lexus GT3 car and roadgoing sports car by 2026.
Starting with the race car and what we know, this is the practical expression of the Toyota GR GT3 concept that debuted as the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon. Over the summer, the head of Toyota’s World Endurance Championship teams said the new competition car should enter the WEC in the Le Mans GT3 class (LMGT3) in 2026, and a street-legal version is anticipated the same year. The same exec said he expects it to be branded as a Lexus.
Beyond that comes conjecture. Toyota has run a Lexus RC F GT3 in the WEC for about 10 years, that car powered by a 5.4-liter V8. There were rumors a couple years back about Lexus working on a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 making roughly 660 horsepower that would serve a new halo LC F sports car. The luxury arm announced such a TTV8 in 2019 for use in the LC500 campaigning in Germany’s Nürburgring series. Then came rumors of the project being canceled during Covid, only for Lexus to tease what could have been an LC F or F Sport last year, which many thought might house that unicorn V8. Nothing on the production side came of it.
The retail RC F and the LC 500 still use a 5.0-liter V8 making 472 horsepower in the former coupe. As a side dish to that, Toyota’s still heavy into tinkering with car-focused eight-cylinder engines, the automaker showing off a hydrogen-powered 5.0-liter V8 developed in partnership with Yamaha — the same Yamaha that helped develop the V10 in the Lexus LFA. We don’t know what’s under the hood of the race car in the video, we just know it sounds like a V8 and straight-cut gears.
Whatever is coming, odds favor this being the replacement for the RC F, not the production version of the Electrified Sport Coupe eventually headed to Lexus dealers that could bear the trademarked name LFR. After talking up the possible LFR’s electric plans, that coupe might also be in line for the coming V8.