LEXUS READY TO RUMBLE!
This summer a very special Lexus SC430 will be showing a clean pair of exhaust pipes to the snarling field of 210mph racing cars. No, Lexus hasn’t turned their flagship coupe into a race car, but a pace car – the one car none of the racers can pass before the start and during safety periods – for the Formula One-style American Champ Car series.
Already a striking vehicle, the company’s US Motorsports Technical Centre has turned the sleek sport coupe into a car that demands attention with its bright, metallic silver exterior, edgy purple and yellow race stripes, silver wheels and purple leather interior.
Since the SC430 is already loaded with a powerful 4.3-litre, 32-valve, V8 engine, transforming the retractable hardtop into a zippy pace car required very little work underneath the bonnet. . Even so the engineers gave the SC430 pace car 28 additional horses for a total of 312 horsepower and added 25lb.ft. of torque to give the convertible an even quicker start off the line.
Other modifications in the body-building regime include a full safety roll cage, four-point racing seatbelt harness, race-tuned suspension, Eibach racing coil springs and Bilstein shock absorbers. 18-inch front and 19-inch rear SSR wheels are fitted with Bridgestone Potenza 265/35ZR/18 tyres in the front and 275/35ZR/19 in the rear. These ensure the SC430 pace car achieves the increased cornering capability and control needed to stay at the head of a field of racing cars.
This is the fourth foray into the Champ Car pace car line-up for Lexus. The original SC400 sport coupe led the way in 1992 and the high-performance GS400 rounded the track first in 1997. The IS300 made its way to the racing scene in October 2001 at the California Speedway.
The SC430 was launched on the UK market in the summer of 2001 and there is still a waiting list of several months for the £50,850 dream machine. The pace car is a one off, but UK race fans will get a chance to see it when the Champ Car series returns to the Rockingham Motor Speedway, near Corby on 14 September.
LEXUS SC430 PACE CAR SPECIFICATIONS
|Power:||312hp @ 5,600rpm|
|Torque:||332lblb.ft. @ 3,400rpm|
|Induction:||Sequential Multi-Port Fuel Injection|
|Fuel:||100 Octane Unleaded|
MTCI Custom Stainless Steel Exhaust
|Transmission:||5-Speed Electronically Controlled Automatic|
|Gear Ratios:||1st – 3.357 2nd – 2.180|
|3rd – 1.424 4th – 1.000|
|5th – 0.753 Final Drive – 3.27|
|Body:||Lexus SC430 Hardtop Convertible|
|Steering:||Power / Rack and Pinion|
|Paint:||PPG Automotive Finishes|
|Front:||Double Wishbone Eibach Racing Coil Springs|
|Rear:||Double Wishbone Eibach Racing Coil Springs|
|WHEELS AND TYRES|
|Front – 18″ x 9 ½”|
|Rear – 19″ x 10″|
|Tyres:||Bridgestone Potenza SO-3 Pole Position|
|Front – 265/35 ZR/18|
|Rear – 275/35 ZR/19|
|Brakes:||Front: – Brembo Four Piston Calliper w/ 14″ floating ventilated discs|
|Rear: – Single Piston Calliper w/ 12″ discs|
|Safety:||Full Roll Cage, Four-Point Racing Safety Harness, Competition Shock Absorbers and Springs, Safety Fuel Cell, Dual Halon On-Board Fire System, Safety Strobe Lights|
|Race Weight:||3,850 lbs.|
|Overall Length:||177.8 inches|
|Overall Width:||71.9 inches|
|Overall Height:||53 inches|
|Ground Clearance:||4 inches|
|Track Width:||Front 63 inches|
|Rear 61 inches|
|Fuel Capacity:||22 gallons|