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Toyota smashes 'Ring lap record

2011-09-08 09:17
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lexus
Model LFA
Engine 4.8-litre V10
Power 419kW
Zero To Hundred 3.7 sec
Another week, another (controversial) Nürburgring production car lap-record claim. This time it's from Toyota...

An LFA supercar was given a window of opportunity on August 31, 2011 to try for the "fastest production car" title on the world-famous circuit's northern loop.

There is often very little standardisation underpinning most lap-record claims, Nürburgring, however, is trumpeted as an undisputable point of reference, its times often the deciding factor in by-the-braai and in-the-pub my-car-is-faster-than-your-car arguments - such is the fabled reputation of the Nürburgring and its 154 corners, which snake for a challenging 20.8km.

SUPERCAR BRAGGING RIGHTS...

Although the variables in terms of weather and what constitutes a production car road tyre are too notable to ignore, a fastest lap around the Rng is still the best bragging rights available in automobiledom and the latest brand to post a lap-time supporting video, and thereby staking its claim as supercar-validated, is Toyota’s premium sub-division, Lexus.

Lexus test driver Akira Iida lapped the forbidding Eifel mountain circuit in 7min14.64 with his (rather appropriately named) Nürburgring Package LFA on standard Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres.

Haruhiko Tanahashi, LFA chief cngineer, was understandably thrilled. "The LFA Nürburgring Package is the culmination of our extensive testing programme and we have appreciated the opportunities to use the Nürburgring Nordschleife to strengthen and develop the LFA into the vehicle it is today.

"The development team's obsession, Iida-san's concentration, and good course conditions all led to the record."

Lexus-haters will counter with accusations that a 50-unit production run is far too limited to be considered a proper production car. Following such logic, other lo- volume high-performance road cars such as Gumpert's Apollo, Pagani's Zonda R and - to a lesser extent - the Radical SR8LM, are all ahead of the LFA on the time sheets...

TINGED WITH SAD IRONY

The Nürburgring pPackage is a limited-edition upgrade to be fitted to only 50 of the 500 LFA units to be assembled, with customer deliveries due early in 2012.

Aerodynamic upgrades include a composite nose spoiler and fixed rear wing and shock-absorber and suspension geometry modifications have reduced ride height by 10mm. Compared to the standard LFA, output from the 4.8-litre V10 (with a Yamaha-developed cylinder head) is up from 412 to 419kW.

There is, however, a bitter irony to this the fastest of all LFA and its lap record: Toyota’s legendary chief test driver, Hiromu Naruse, was killed testing the LFA Nürburgring during its development at the ‘Ring in June, 2010.

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