Filed under: Sedan , Performance , Lexus , Toyota There’s little question that Lexus has succeeded in challenging its German rivals in the luxury marketplace. And with the LFA , it has proven that Japan can build a world-class supercar. What’s left blank is the space in between. Toyota Motorsport GmbH came up with a compelling answer in the form of the Sports 650 prototype, a Lexus LS with a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 641 horsepower and other go-fast components to challenge the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and Audi S8 . Toyota boss Akio Toyoda was reportedly so impressed with the project that he initially ordered TMG to build ten examples – one for him and each of his nine best friends. But since the model on which the project was based has since been replaced, questions remain over the project’s fate. Georg Kacher – European correspondent for Automobile and Car magazines – recently drove the prototype and reports that “the project will now likely be transferred to the new model out in 2015.” That could come down purely to speculation, but Kacher tends to get the inside line on industry news, so this particular bowl of gossip soup might not requite the usual grain of salt we otherwise might add. TMG Lexus LS Sports 650 destined for production after 2015? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Nov 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Sedan , Performance , Europe , Lexus , Toyota If you’re going to make a super sedan, you’d better do it in Germany. That’s where Audi , BMW and Mercedes-Benz do it, along with third parties like Alpina , Brabus and G-Power , among others. Deutschland is the epicenter of the movement, regularly churning out the most powerful four-door rockets in the world. It’s also where one of the racing divisions for Toyota has been hard at work on the TMG Sports 650 . Toyota Motorsport GmbH started with a Lexus LS and turned it into a 641-horsepower, twin-turbocharged super sedan it revealed late last year at the Essen Motor Show. But though we haven’t heard much about it since then, the team behind Toyota’s F1 and Le Mans efforts are apparently still hard at work on the project. Speaking with Lexus’ own UK blog, TMG chief Alastair Moffitt revealed that the project started way back in 2010, shortly after Toyota shut down its F1 program and left the racing team with nothing to do. The 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 was initially producing as much as 800 horsepower, but has since been refined to 650 so that it could theoretically be put into production and onto the road. That’s something TMG hasn’t done before, but is keen to start, positioning itself alongside Toyota Racing Development in the US and Gazoo Racing in Japan as an in-house tuning division which Toyota and Lexus could rely on for this kind of project. To that end, TMG has been testing its prototype at the N
Filed under: Motorsports , Spy Photos , Coupe , Hybrid , Europe , Toyota , Racing The sudden departure of Peugeot from the Le Mans racing scene came as quite a shock, we know. But don’t count the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship – or the famed 24-hour race at its center – out for the count before it’s even started, because another powerhouse is already gearing up to take Peugeot’s place. And that powerhouse is Toyota . The Japanese auto giant announced its plans to build and campaign a new LMP1 racer at Le Mans and the WEC back in October. Toyota Motorsport GmbH (which ran the company’s F1 team until its withdrawal in 2009) then set about designing the car, partnering with Team Oreca to help with the logistics of entering the pinnacle of endurance racing, and hired three top pilots to, you know, actually drive the thing. With all those pieces in place, the Toyota team began testing their new prototype racer last week at the Paul Ricard test track in France. Toyota itself didn’t release much in the way of details, but Alex Wurz was said to have led the shake-down, with his team-mates Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima on hand to share in the driving duties as well. And while no “official” photos were “officially” released, Toyota PR rep Scott Brownlee tweeted a couple of snapshots to whet our appetites. The result looks, predictably enough, much like the latest LMP1 racers fielded by Audi and the departed Peugeot, but as with most things, it’s what’s underneath the surface that will count the most. In Toyota’s sake, that would be a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain of some sort, but we’ll have to wait a little while longer – as the next round of testing and the car’s anticipated debut at Spa come May approach – to find out more.