The Lexus LFA has been out of production for nearly six years, ending production in December of 2012, but the supercar is still highly praised by those who ever had the opportunity to drive them. Toyota has, however, all but ruled out a successor to the LFA happening any time soon, if ever. So why the hell has Toyota been spied testing semi-camouflaged LFA test mules at the Nurburgring?
In a recent report by Automais, pictures have surfaced of a Lexus LFA Nurburgring Package, lightly dashed in camo, being tested at the proving ground for all things automotive. For all intents and purposes, the LFA test mule looks to be rather bog standard, with the only noticeable differences being slightly flared front and rear arches. The LFA isn’t up for a ‘mid-life refresh’, so the question still stands – why?
Well, there are a couple of potential reasons:
1 – Is Lexus Planning An LFA Revival/Successor?
The painfully obvious reason the LFA has been spotted in testing could be that Toyota is indeed planning on launching an LFA successor. The Japanese brand has, in recent years, committed to performance models in a manner we haven’t seen since the 90s, releasing the Toyota 86, Yaris GRMN hot hatch, and soon, the new A90 Toyota Supra. Sibling brand, Lexus, has had the odd performance model here and there since the LFA, including the RC-F and the GS-F, and though it’s more of a grand tourer than an outright sports car, the LC500 has also fulfilled a semi-performance role within the brand stable.
If Lexus is planning a new LFA, these test mules could be early adaptations of the old chassis to test wheelbase length, track width, and potentially drivetrain options for the new supercar.
However, it’s highly unlikely this is the case, as Toyota has made clear that it does have another mid-engined performance car in the works, one it intends on taking racing…
2 – These Are Early Prototypes For The GR Super Sport Concept
Way back in January, Toyota Gazoo Racing debuted the GR Super Sport concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon. This Le Mans Prototype (LMP) inspired racer featured technology derived from the World Endurance Championship, and packed it into a potentially road-legal, mid-engined supercar.
The headline figures were this, a hybrid 2.4-litre twin-turbo V6 with a combined output of 735kW. Crucially, Toyota suggested the concept would head to production, later even confirming that the vehicle would be used to compete in endurance racing as the WEC shifts away from traditional LMP vehicles.
It stands to good reason that the LFA models spotted testing on the ‘Ring are in fact test beds for the drivetrain to be found in the GR Super Sport production model. The flared arches could be necessary to house a wider track width needed to house the electric motors for the hybrid system, as well as the extra running gear required for the hybridized setup. Though the LFA might be front-engined, it has more than enough space to house a V6 for testing purposes.