JAPANESE car maker Lexus has progressed a step further in its drive to compete on a global scale, taking its RC F GT3 program up a notch by entering the 2016 US-based IMSA Sportscar Championship.
The entry marks the the next important step in the development of its purpose-built V8-powered race car, with the limited campaign providing preparation for a full-scale two car entry in the 2017 Championship.
More than that though, the RC F GT3 to be campaigned by Michigan-based F Performance Racing 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 raced last year in the German 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.
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 IMSA 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 utilise the FIA GT3 regulations.