SPEED NEWS March 2016

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

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Page 21 of 75

N ot long after the Lexus RC F came out, Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson tested it on the program, and he didn't like it. He wanted to, because of how much he liked the Lexus LFA, a savage V-10 powered supercar with a siren's song for an exhaust note, but the RCF left him underwhelmed. Why? If I recall correctly, it was because the car understeered when driven hard. As delivered in stock trim, it might well have pushed, so when an RC F popped up on the roster of cars we could sample at the Motor Press Guild's Track Days event at Willow Springs International Raceway, well, let's just say I was interested to drive it. The track, which produces some of the fastest average speeds of any road course in the country, was littered with cones to prevent early turn-in and other dumb moves, and it was a great place to test the RC F. We weren't racing or driving at 10/10ths, but we were able to push the cars hard enough to produce understeer if there were any. In short, the RC F didn't exhibit any overt signs of understeer. The car offered great turn-in and loads of grip. We had it going through Big Willow's Turn 8 at 120 mph on 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza street tires with no problem. Those tires were developed specifically for the RC F, but they weren't race rubber by any means. If you're interested in upgrading the tires, there are several manufacturers that offer tires in the wheel size that comes on the RC F. Bridgestone, Continental, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Michelin, Pirelli, Sumitomo, and Yokohama all offer tires for the RC F. The only negative trait I uncovered during my hot laps at Willow was the downshifts, which tended to upset the chassis a little bit. The eight-speed automatic had paddle shifters, but it had a torque converter rather than a multiple-disc setup. At the speeds we were carrying, and as aggressively as we were braking and downshifting, it was more of lurch when the transmission 2016 LEXUS RC F C A R C O R N E R PHOTOS COURTESY OF LEXUS 22

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