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Rallying and stunt-driving legend Ken Block joins James May on a rather quiet airfield in California.
Quiet that is until he turns the airfield into a playground and shows off his Sabaru-sliding skills against dirt-biking champion Ricky Carmichael!
Go to http://www.youtube.com/TopGear to see a full list of all high quality videos available on the Top Gear YouTube channel and don’t forget to visit http://www.topgear.com for all the latest news and car reviews.
I was at Fuji today to cover a behind-the-scenes filming of the latest Hot Version DVD when late in the day and from out of nowhere, 2 bright and shiny Lexus LFA’s appeared from the other end of the pit-lane…
I was standing out on pit lane talking with Tarzan Yamada about his trip to America for the SEMA show tomorrow when we spotted them. Now, I love the LF-A but the tight-lipped response to 7tunes questions regarding the cars being at FSW was that it was a “test” – with no further comment given.
In the 20 minutes I observed the goings on, the two LFA circled the track doing an out lap and then an in lap, with the occasional flying lap. A number of drivers took turns behind the wheel but while the identity of the drivers remains unknown to me*, I can confirm a number of engineers were also taken around the track; and in many instances, the red LFA could be seen weaving from left to right down the main straight doing well over 250kph. Suspension and brake testing perhaps?
I’m not about to pull out my crystal ball just yet and make a definitive call but Toyota is due to start production in December and there is plenty of talk that they have been evaluating different grades for the LF-A; something we know to be fact when one remembers the car the late Hiromu Naruse was driving was a race spec version at the Nurburgring.
In these shots you can see the interior selection of the blue LF-A is in stark contrast to that of the red LF-A. The cream leather, chromed wheels and yellow calipers hint at something along the lines of customization differences although the details are scarce. Could it be that production has started early and that these are actually cars that “clients” have customized as per Toyota’s insistence that the LF-A be entirely customizable on paint and interior finish? If so, just who’s car is this then?
The thing that seemed out of place, besides a yellow on blue color scheme for the brake calipers, was the chromed wheels with missing center caps.
Now by this stage, the staff at Toyota had sent an angry call to race control to come over and have a talk with the people spectating and we were then coerced by stern faced staff back behind the roller doors and out of view of the cars and their onlookers. This came as a surprise to many of us but it just confirmed that something important enough was taking place for us not to be privy to it. The fact that Toyota decided to do this when they knew that other media would be present is a mystery.
So, feel free to interject with your own opinions on what is going on here. I personally think they were also developing the car for racing next year. It is no secret now that Toyota are going after Nissan in the FIA GT series.
* – In fact, I do know who was driving the cars at the time but Toyota has asked me to keep the information confidential until they decide to make it public. Unlike other people that I know in this industry, I have decided to keep my word.
7tune.com – The Ultimate JDM Experience
Photos – Adam Zillin
Words – Adam Zillin