The Lexus LFA has competed in every 24 Hours Nürburgring since 2008. Gazoo Racing, the team that campaigns the supercar, is celebrating this racing heritage in a new video.
While the LFA has never won the epic endurance race, it has won its class, the SP8 division. The supercar’s first outing was as a prototype that crashed before the race. The damage was repaired in two hours in order to start as the 27th car. Placing seventh in class the prototype finished 121st overall, piloted by a team of four Japanese drivers. Akida Iida, a driver of the racecar in every one of the endurance races, was astounded by the capabilities of the competition, “frankly, we were no match.”
The 2009 race had two prototype LFA racers on the grid. The first prototype, numbered 15, suffered a seperated driveshaft 90 minutes before the end of the race, causing smoke to pour out the back. The number 14 car, came fourth in class and 87th overall.
For 2010, the race saw the LFA winning its class and placing 18th overall in the gruelling race. The victory was soured less than a month later by the death of the race team’s coach. In June, Hiromu Naruse was driving on roads near the famed German track in an LFA Nürburgring edition prototype when he lost control and veered into oncoming traffic. While he had a helmet on, he was not wearing a seatbelt and the prototype did not have functional airbags.
In 2011 the team only managed to take third in class and 41st overall. Andre Lotterer drove for the team from 2009 to 2011, and he was proud to be part of such a determined team, saying “they never give up.” For 2012 the LFA finally won its class and placed 15th overall. The race has been run 39 times since 1970 and the majority of the winners have been German. Porsche and BMW dominate while Audi won in 2012, though Opel has one victory with a V8-powered Astra, and the Viper has taken home three wins. Ford has won five times but its European division is based in Germany.
Takayuki Kinoshita has piloted the cars in every endurance race since 2008. He has seen the car and team develop and improve, as well as the competition. His feelings sum up the evolution of the car and the team, as well as the hope for 2013. “Much improved car and staff. So frustrating.”
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