The story goes that a person well known in the Twin Cities car community asked me that same question. I answered him with the response of the “Lexus RC F.”
A Victory & Reseda review of the 2023 Lexus RC F Track Edition
You know that one question I cringe at being asked? The one about “what my favorite vehicle.” Let’s address that question for a moment…
The story goes that a person well known in the Twin Cities car community asked me that same question. Maybe he caught me at my most gullible, as I answered him with the response of the “Lexus RC F.”
Then, he bought one. Took it on charity rallies and car meets. End of story.
I was ready to solidify that specific F Performance Lexus in 2018, when I worked the Washington Auto Show. My gullible self was in pain – my back was giving out, a sign that my spinal cord was about to go on the fritz. I was at the Lexus booth when I spotted an RC F. Gullible ol’ me stepped inside and settled into its performance high back bucket seats. Then, my body did a complete shut down upon exiting the sports coupe. My glee turned into sadness.
A few years later, George and I were at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Rally. I saw a new 2023 RC F Track Edition and decided that we should do some video content in it. This time, I was more cautious getting in and out of this favorite vehicle of mine. I settled into the performance high back seats. It felt like I was riding an old familiar horse again. No one was in pain. It was a fulfilling and wonderful experience.
A few months later, that same 2023 RC F Track Edition arrived at the Saint Paul headquarters.
Let me talk you through the Track Edition. An RC F is already a treat to look at and drive. If you add the Torque Vectoring Differential, you got a proper machine. With that, you got a dollop of carbon fiber on the roof the retractable rear spoiler and a few other places.
When you select the Track Edition, the amount of carbon fiber is multiplied exponentially. The front hood, ground effects, and a fixed rear wing wear this precious lightweight material. The Brembo brakes are carbon ceramic. BBS adds a set of 19-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.
In all, you should be able to get on a track and become the newest member of the Vasser Sullivan Lexus Motorsports team in IMSA’s GTD Pro and GTD classes. You want to avenge the recent victories by the Heart of Racing Aston Martins in the past couple of races…
Not so fast, folks! I always point to the RC F’s ability to be a performance-bred 2+2 sports coupe that is wonderful to drive on the road. A civilized track star, if you will.
You can only get the RC F Track Edition is one color: Incognito. It is a gloss gray that one could mistake it for a certain Dodge, Kia, or Audi color. However, Lexus made sure that its carbon fiber finishes are contrasting in black. Would you rather have it in Vasser Sullivan Lexus Motorsports colors, replete with the honeycomb motif?
Your take on that paint/carbon fiber color job is your own. I think it’s badass no matter what you think.
The interior’s theme is befitting if the F Performance’s brand – that blue! It is that blue that tells you what it is apart from anything else. The seats, trim, padding above the instrument cluster – that blue.
Track focused models usually have a hardcore element to their seats. The RC F’s Track Edition is no exception. The sueded upholstery might not give as much as the RC F’s standard leather seats, but they will snug you for a rocket across town or a track day. I do not mind them at all.
It is all part of the experience, and one must be ready to partake in it. That’s the approach I took with this RC F. Never mind the track pad and last-gen infotainment system. It is balanced by a “gated” shifter for the automatic transmission. That’s how I approached this Lexus – forgetting about the other and newer models I drove and dial it back to the original moments with this model.
Do I need to get into the engine? Or, the set-up? It’s the same as any RC F, right? Well…almost.
The engine is the same – a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 spewing 472 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels. It goes from 0-60 MPH in 3.96 seconds. Oh, and it returned 23.6 MPG.
You do get a knob to dial in the drive modes. The Sport S+ setting is where the action happens. The dampers tighten up, the revs and shift points are raised, and the adrenaline is heightened. But, what if you simply just want to cruise down the highway and show off that fixed rear spoiler to the world? Just click the knob back to the Normal setting and put the Radar Cruise Control at your desired speed.
What is missing in the Track Edition is one of the things I enjoyed about the “normal” RC Fs – the Torque Vectoring Differential. Instead, the Track Edition has a limited slip differential. I’m certain this was done to concentrate on track-ready performance. It works extremely well, regardless.
There is a huge change to the RC F that I applaud the most – the tires. Since the beginning Michelin supplied Lexus with their performance Pilot Super Sport rubber. They’re great for the track, but not so great on the road. The Track Edition now comes with a set of Pilot Sport 4S tires. A better set for the road, improving the RC F experience a whole lot better.
Honestly, I was hoping for more of a visceral experience than previous RC Fs. More track killer than anything. Sure, if I put it into Sport S+, I get a heightened, more urgent experience with a firmer suspension. However, I found it to be as fun on the street – and on the freeway – in Normal. A grand touring coupe, if you will. Perhaps I knew that would be the outcome. After all, previous experience does help to frame expectations from certain automobiles.
If there was one addition that highly appreciated from the RC F Track Edition is the carbon-ceramic brakes with 14.9-inch rotors at all four corners. They do make the difference in stopping this car. The pedal feel is fine, but the stopping action is superb. This is precisely what I want in an RC F.
The one I sort of expected from such a special RC F is the price. This tester came to $105,685. I was under the impression that it was a very limited production run. I found nothing indicating as such.
Then again, isn’t that about the same cost as an LC 500 coupe? Ahem…moving on…
Mere mortal RC F models start from $68,195. There are two packages you can add to the RC f that will keep you below $100,000 and can give you paint color options, such as my all-time favorite – the Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0. They’re tough choices, as the Carbon Package adds some of the Track Edition’s carbon fiber parts, except for the fixed rear spoiler and hood. You can also forget about specifying your mere mortal RC F with the carbon ceramic brakes – that’s a Track Edition exclusive.
I will always celebrate the Lexus RC F. It is the first car to give me the confidence to drive anything else in the universe. It is the conqueror of everything that stood in the way in life’s journey.
This car is equal to any self-help book or online therapy. It is a soulful experience in a world full if soul-less machinery.
Does the Track Edition add anything to all of the above? Perhaps. For me, it is just an RC F. It simply confirms everything I love about the car – a car that I cannot stop loving. My connection with this car – and all previous stints with the Lexus RC F – has been deepened with this example. It remains on a plinth as my "favorite car of all time."
There’s your answer, folks.
As an added bonus, George takes you on a tour of the carbon fiber elements on the 2023 Lexus RC F Track Edition below in a YouTube Short video…
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Toyota Motor North America
All photos by Randy Stern and George Torline