Success in 24 hours - Lexus in the green hell

Motorsport is the supreme discipline in competition. Man and machine, pace and team, tactics and tragedies - everything meshes on the racetrack, everything merges - one can no longer work without the other. The most dramatic race of the year can be found in the Eifel. On the Nordschleife. At the Nürburgring. Once a year the clock runs twice around and the competition rages on the asphalt belt.

Here successes are carved into the history books of eternity, defeats turn into tears in the sweaty and exhausted faces of the mechanics and racing drivers. Motorsport is heaven and hell. Here in the “Green Hell” Lexus faces the competition.

And wins class wins in the process.

Lexus - success proves you are right | Class win at the 24 2015-hour race

The contingent of Japanese premium brand on the ring was strong. Starting with the “small” Toyota GT86 of the Swiss Racing Team in the V3 class, through the two Lexus RC 200t in the SP 3T, the V8 IS-F CCS-R and up to the LFA Code-X ten-cylinder super sports car in the top class SP-Pro. The opponents? Everything that has rank and name. Two Porsches fought for victory with the LFA Code-X, with the Lexus RC 200t it was Subaru, Audi, Seat and a Ford Focus that wanted to fight for the top positions in the SP 3T class.

The GT 86 in the V3 was without competition, apart from another private GT 86.

LFA Code X on Saturday evening
LFA Code X on Saturday evening

The Lexus LFA Code-X crossed the finish line after 147 laps in the overall 14 rank. In his class he distanced the competitor's Porsche by 3: 33 minutes. A tough, exciting fight had preceded this tight finish. 

Masahiko Kageyama, Hiroaki Ishiura, Kazuya Oshima and Takuto Iguchi sat in the cockpit of the LFA Code-X. Kazuya Oshima tackled the start from position 23. He was able to successfully stay out of all gross skirmishes.

The team was also able to cope with the difficult weather conditions at night Gazoo Racing do not get out of step. With the onset of capricious weather in the late evening, there were two unplanned pit stops where the tires had to be changed.

In the early hours of the morning, the team got bad news. The “GT500” driver Hiroaki Ishiura was revoked because of the disregard of “Code 60” signals the “Nordschleife license”. From then on, the other pilots were on their way without the help of a fourth pilot. However, that didn't detract from the team's performance.

Trembling again shortly before the end of the race. The LFA Code-X lacks sixth gear. The drivers now have to defend the lead with just five gears. A typical "N24h thriller”Who is observed in the pit lane with questioning faces.

In the end, it is still enough for the class win. For the second time after 2014, the Lexus LFA Code-X prevailed in its class - this year also with a very successful 14th overall.

Pit stop at Team Gazoo Racing - LFA Code X - copy: Stefan Baldauf SB-Medien / Robert Kah imagetrust
Pit stop at the Gazoo Racing team - LFA Code X - copy: Stefan Baldauf SB-Medien / Robert Kah imagetrust

Pit lane chatter, something like trying to do an interview ...

During the night I caught individual emotions in the pit lane and tried to get the information from the teams that you would otherwise not get. So, the small official channel, without press departments, without PR experts. Simply from blogger to mechanic.

The technicians and mechanics in the GAZOO Racing Team are among the most polite screwdrivers you can meet during the 24h race. While elsewhere the hectic pace of the race is verbally channeled in hearty phrases, the Gazoo mechanics keep calm - and politeness, even when it starts to rain. This is one of those skills that I can get jealous of.

However, I also lack Japanese in order to be able to have a proper conversation with a mechanic at the end. My desperate attempts to learn a little bit about the current performance of the vehicle after a pit stop of the LFA Code-X is answered with a brief, matter-of-fact and polite “shark”. Inquiries with “yesyes”.

I swam quickly, I can't really get any further here. You can feel the team's passion for this racetrack, there is only a language barrier between them and mein-auto-blog.

When I turn around, a friendly mechanic in Gazoo team clothes laughs at me. “English?”

With him I can chat four sentences about the LFA. He says the development that has been undertaken in recent years, driveability and pure performance, is the result of the many laps on the Nordschleife. No track reveals the weaknesses of a racing car more easily.

The fact that one does not drive for victory - yes - it stacks deeply in typical Japanese courtesy - I ask directly, why not?

He smiles. Modesty is her greatest strength. He indicates to me that he has to check the tires that have just been changed.

I stand in the pits for a few more minutes. Smell the motorsport aroma, this unique smell.

How lucky I am ...

Lexus LFA Code-X - pit stop at night - Copyright: Stefan Baldauf SB-Medien / Robert Kah imagetrust
Lexus LFA Code-X - pit stop at night - Copyright: Stefan Baldauf SB-Medien / Robert Kah imagetrust

The orange Lexus IS-F CCS R with the start number 54 was less fortunate. Around 22:00 p.m., the V8 racer hit the guardrail in the fox tube area in difficult conditions. However, the race was not over for the Lexus. Despite these harsh problems, the Lexus IS-F fought its way back to the top in its class and finished the race in 59th place and a very good second place in the SP8 class. Only a few minutes - and after 24 hours - behind the Aston Martin with the start number 49.

Motorsport remains the ultimate yardstick. And the Nordschleife is the ultimate benchmark for motorsport. If you are going to win here, you do not have to fear the competition the next day, outside in the automotive market. 

A good example is the new one Be Lexus NX 300h. We have already driven it - and the: Lexus RC-F, one of the last V8 brummers in the market of sporty coupes, yes, we drove that too ... 

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Lexus NX 300hLexus RC-F
Diablo grille Lexus NX300hLexus RC-F 04 test drive spain
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24 hour hours from a different perspective: driversclub-germany…

Photos in the gallery: Copyright: Stefan Baldauf, Robert Kah, Bernd Schweickard, Bjoern Habegger
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