Lexus Anticipates ALMS Debut as New IS 350 GT2 Nears Completion TORRANCE, Calif., May 12, 2006 -- Since Lexus' announcement in December that Team Lexus will field two IS 350s in the 2006 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class, the team has...
Lexus Anticipates ALMS Debut as New IS 350 GT2 Nears Completion
TORRANCE, Calif., May 12, 2006 -- Since Lexus' announcement in December that Team Lexus will field two IS 350s in the 2006 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class, the team has been hard at work preparing the cars for their first racing season. The new cars will challenge GT2-class stalwarts Porsche and Panoz while taking on new entries from Ferrari and BMW."Although we'd love to be racing this weekend in Houston, building a new, competitive, GT2 car from the ground up is a complex undertaking," said Team Lexus owner Chuck Goldsborough. "Our team has been working very hard to design and build the new cars, with inevitable challenges along the way. Once complete, the task of development then starts and must ramp up very quickly."
The level of ALMS GT2 competition underscores the challenges inherent in building a sedan to compete on even terms. Top GT2 competitors include the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Ferrari 430 GT, Panoz Esperante GTLM and BMW M3--all formidable cars. With its production-based V6 providing more than 450 hp to propel a race car weighing less than 2,800 lbs., the new IS 350 GT2 promises to be plenty quick. The car also will retain its double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, suitably modified for the task and tuned to work with the large BBS-mounted Michelin racing slicks. StopTech will provide an upgraded brake package.
The team expects to begin testing in the next few weeks with the goal of a race debut in July. But the final decision on race timing will be based on test and development program results. "With the majority of the ALMS schedule taking place after July 1, it simply makes sense to be patient and develop the car properly," said Philip Gaviola, Lexus motorsports manager. "And with the caliber of competition in the GT2 class, it's going to be a steep learning curve regardless of when the IS 350 makes its debut."