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Lexus LFA Driver Development Center program at Infineon (official)

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Old 03-10-11, 11:19 AM   #106
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I split my next two posts - first a couple notes before I get to questions...

As I mentioned in the other thread, the new black LFA at Infineon that is Lexus USA's car is #32. We got it over 500 miles already.

BTW, I think I misspoke - it's the first proto Pearl Gray that is on loan from Japan, correct? So US should keep the proto Pearl Yellow and the production glossy black #32. Unless they are actually leasing both prototypes and will only keep #32.....

Other assorted notes I "gleaned" in some fashion...
  • At least 2 USA buyers have bought more than one LFA.
  • They are still selling LFAs so that 25ish figure is decreasing. They sold another 2 units this week just in west region. This is a car that can definitely convince people of its place as a legendary supercar after they drive it.
  • There are already 12 Nürburgring Editions on order in the US. (So happy to hear this.)
  • Nürburgring Edition production is scheduled to start January 2012 at the same time as premium colors, not at the end of the cycle as I previously reported
  • Lexus is committed to continuing to provide LFA customer support beyond just service/maintenance, including developing LFA community... more to come

BTW, the feedback on this car from pros who have driven it on the track continues to be amazing. I won't name the pro who said this, but he mentioned he has a client who personally hired him for Infineon track instruction in the client's own 458, and that while the 458 is a great car, the LFA is "more dynamic", better on the track, and "far more special".

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot - my LFA hit Long Beach last night.
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Last edited by gengar; 03-16-11 at 02:40 AM..
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Old 03-10-11, 11:22 AM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05RollaXRS View Post
I think that is a good thing they are replacing the yellow prototype LFA with a new black production model LFA. This will most likely serve as the press car.
Yes, I would also like to see #32 serve as a test car. The Lexus USA reps seemed like they hadn't decided yet which one to send to fulfill any future press requests, and I said of course they should send the black one. There's no other option. I actually think it looks better anyway, but more importantly, it's a production car. It doesn't matter if it's not that much more refined than the yellow proto, or if it's not any faster than the yellow proto; it's a production car and that's the bottom line.

I heard Top Gear US wants the LFA btw. So be on the lookout for #32 on the program sometime down the road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by S2000toIS350 View Post
Could you break out details of the day some more? You mentioned the estimate of seat time in laps. Could you also say how many laps in the LFA with the pro driving, how many drag runs and how the ISF time was done? Also, was the ISF the improved 11 model?
Couple notes to add on to 07's experience which matched mine, but they are obviously making a few tweaks to the program and we should expect that. First, we only did 1/4 mi drag, not the whole 1/2 mi, and I think that's how it will be going forward. We did do four drag runs each. From what I understand the whole IS F fleet present is the 2011. Because 2011 differs from my F with both the LSD and the rear suspension overhaul it was hard for me to tell what improved characteristics were from each improvement, but the new F feels fantastic.

BTW, it was great to do the slalom and basic cornering exercise. All the track programs I've done recently are pure track experience programs but I think it's easy for basic techniques to get lost when you're just on a track. It's really good to get back to basics sometimes.

Also, I would highly recommend Tony Brakohiapa to you as an instructor, but unfortunately he's off to Qatar on Saturday to do a drift exhibition. Either way all the instructors were great and you'll have a good time out there.


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Originally Posted by S2000toIS350 View Post
Thanks for the info about the yellow and black cars. I love accounting but some of that stuff is just goofy. They end up taking one of the 17x US cars for themselves.

Thanks for trying the back up thing. The camera is mounted to the side. This can be seen in a few of the pics loaded here.

I am not sure if there are details around for 29. Did you compare notes on what they ordered? Did the guy with the later car go for a year 2 color?

Are these guys old and funny or young and full of trust funds?

How was the Bardesomo? My wife couldn't make it so I went with a pedestrian place in American Canyon.
I'm glad Lexus USA now has an official production car, but I do agree I'd definitely rather all 171 cars go to customers (in the US or otherwise), no doubt about it. The positives of Lexus being a gigantic multinational megacorporation and all those benefits (ability to produce the LFA and do lots of events, big dealer network, etc.) does have its negatives; in this case Lexus Japan and Lexus USA essentially act as totally separate companies. It's funny how taking one of the production cars actually became a good business decision.

Thanks for the note on the backup camera position - I can't believe I never noticed that. I knew when I was backing up #32 that something wasn't quite right; I assumed that it was just the steering ratio difference compared to my F (and maybe it still was partially).

#29 said he got Pearl White. I forgot where he's from. He also did the factory tour in Japan, a few weeks after I did it. I'm surprised his hasn't been delivered yet. I didn't get a chance to talk with the other owner much because he had to leave early, so I don't know what he ordered.

The two other owners were both older guys. At least 40s, maybe 50s-60s. Most of the LFA buyers from what I can tell are older, established professionals. Ms. Hilton and I will probably bring up the low end of the age scale.

The Bardessono is good. I'm not really into boutique hotels but it's quite pleasant. I'm not a fan of Yountville though - I'd rather be in Napa (I was roughly familiar with the area so knew what I was getting into before I booked). One good thing about American Canyon is that it is more convenient to Infineon, which is good given the new 8am start time for the events, and it's still easy to get up to Napa from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Z View Post
Were the seats indeed in the Black LFA "Alcantara" or suede like, as found in the prototype Pearl Yellow LFA ??
This is an actual production car so it has to be alcantara. To be honest, I didn't notice the seats, but all the interior is in alcantara including the dash, and the dash is definitely actually alcantara. I still am glad I got leather on my car for the dash but the alcantara looks great. Definitely couldn't go wrong with either choice for the interior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpvarghese View Post
Gengar, awesome! Events like this make ownership more of a joy. Do some of the LFA owners here plan on spending more track days with their cars or leave it strictly to street duty?
I didn't really talk to the other owners about it - neither had track experience before so I'm sure taking Infineon as the first track experience was daunting. #29 seemed to have really enjoyed it though. Still, I think it says a lot that people without track experience are willing to take instruction on how to drive such a high-performance supercar at a such a technical track, and I hope a lot of LFA owners (if they're not track enthusiasts already) will get there as a result of this program. Certainly this experience has reignited my love for track days.

Last edited by gengar; 03-10-11 at 11:32 AM..
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Old 03-10-11, 11:22 AM   #108
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Great update gengar Thank you so much for sharing and most importantly Congratulations that your car has made it to the US! Hopefully very soon it will be in your garage
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Old 03-10-11, 11:33 AM   #109
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Awesome update, gengar.

I agree the production black LFA should be kept for the press car. I really hope CarAndDriver or RoadAndTrack will test the production car to reveal the true prowess of LFA. It would be great seeing LFA getting more exposure on TopGear USA and run a hotlap with the US Stig, but I would much rather prefer the British TopGear doing another test on the production LFA and run a proper dry lap (which unfortunately, they seem to be holding out on purpose).

Anyway, did you get to see your 1/4 mile numbers by any chance and how they looked like or it will be in the videos as well?? Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gengar View Post
Yes, I would also like to see #32 serve as a test car. The Lexus USA reps seemed like they hadn't decided yet which one to send to fulfill any future press requests, and I said of course they should send the black one. There's no other option. I actually think it looks better anyway, but more importantly, it's a production car. It doesn't matter if it's not that much more refined than the yellow proto, or if it's not any faster than the yellow proto; it's a production car and that's the bottom line.

I heard Top Gear US wants the LFA btw. So be on the lookout for #32 on the program sometime down the road.




Couple notes to add on to 07's experience which matched mine, but they are obviously making a few tweaks to the program and we should expect that. First, we only did 1/4 mi drag, not the whole 1/2 mi, and I think that's how it will be going forward. We did do three drag runs each. From what I understand the whole IS F fleet present is the 2011. Because 2011 differs from my F with both the LSD and the rear suspension overhaul it was hard for me to tell what improved characteristics were from each improvement, but the new F feels fantastic.

BTW, it was great to do the slalom and basic cornering exercise. All the track programs I've done recently are pure track experience programs but I think it's easy for basic techniques to get lost when you're just on a track. It's really good to get back to basics sometimes.

Also, I would highly recommend Tony Brakohiapa to you as an instructor, but unfortunately he's off to Qatar on Saturday to do a drift exhibition. Either way all the instructors were great and you'll have a good time out there.




I'm glad Lexus USA now has an official production car, but I do agree I'd definitely rather all 171 cars go to customers (in the US or otherwise), no doubt about it. The positives of Lexus being a gigantic multinational megacorporation and all those benefits (ability to produce the LFA and do lots of events, big dealer network, etc.) does have its negatives; in this case Lexus Japan and Lexus USA essentially act as totally separate companies. It's funny how taking one of the production cars actually became a good business decision.

Thanks for the note on the backup camera position - I can't believe I never noticed that. I knew when I was backing up #32 that something wasn't quite right; I assumed that it was just the steering ratio difference compared to my F (and maybe it still was partially).

#29 said he got Pearl White. I forgot where he's from. He also did the factory tour in Japan, a few weeks after I did it. I'm surprised his hasn't been delivered yet. I didn't get a chance to talk with the other owner much because he had to leave early, so I don't know what he ordered.

The two other owners were both older guys. At least 40s, maybe 50s-60s. Most of the LFA buyers from what I can tell are older, established professionals. Ms. Hilton and I will probably bring up the low end of the age scale.

The Bardessono is good. I'm not really into boutique hotels but it's quite pleasant. I'm not a fan of Yountville though - I'd rather be in Napa (I was roughly familiar with the area so knew what I was getting into before I booked). One good thing about American Canyon is that it is more convenient to Infineon, which is good given the new 8am start time for the events, and it's still easy to get up to Napa from there.



This is an actual production car so it has to be alcantara. To be honest, I didn't notice the seats, but all the interior is in alcantara including the dash, and the dash is definitely actually alcantara. I still am glad I got leather on my car for the dash but the alcantara looks great. Definitely couldn't go wrong with either choice for the interior.



I didn't really talk to the other owners about it - neither had track experience before so I'm sure taking Infineon as the first track experience was daunting. #29 seemed to have really enjoyed it though. Still, I think it says a lot that people without track experience are willing to take instruction on how to drive such a high-performance supercar at a such a technical track, and I hope a lot of LFA owners (if they're not track enthusiasts already) will get there as a result of this program. Certainly this experience has reignited my love for track days.
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Old 03-10-11, 11:37 AM   #110
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please keep up the good replies, gengar. sounds like a lot of fun

i think it's a good idea to have a production car under lexus usa so they can use it for press, etc... better than a prototype imho.

i continue to find it a bit surprising that some owners at the program had no track experience before. interesting. i am also surprised lexus couldn't fill up the 40 spots or so for the class. if i were getting the car, i would love to go
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Old 03-10-11, 11:56 AM   #111
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Thanks Gengar,

First of all congrats on your car hitting the shore. Hopefully you changed your travel plans to go to the warehouse for the uncrating and then put a sleeping bag in the 18 wheeler for the ride home with the car.

I feel bad that I asked so many nuts and bolts questions and did not focus of the joy of driving the car on the track stuff.

As you mentioned, American Canyon is closer to Infineon so I went with that. I am not sure if my start time will be 8 or 9. It sounded like they set this based on customer preferences.

Was there anything like a group debrief/final Q and A at the end of the day?

Too bad about the half mile run being cut to a quarter. Bonus fo 07 for going on day 1.

The goofiest thing about the production car to me is that an unsold unit was heading to a dealer at all.

Fom my understanding of how japanese car companies run, they love to have balanced production levels. My guess is they had an open early slot and let the dealer put in the order. If the unsold car hit the dealer showroom, that would have looked wrong based on all the previous communications.
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Old 03-10-11, 11:56 AM   #112
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Great Posts Gengar!!! Thank You


Quote:
Originally Posted by gengar View Post
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot - my LFA hit Long Beach last night.

^^ Great News... Can't wait to see it..


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Old 03-10-11, 12:01 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by S2000toIS350 View Post
The goofiest thing about the production car to me is that an unsold unit was heading to a dealer at all.

Fom my understanding of how japanese car companies run, they love to have balanced production levels. My guess is they had an open early slot and let the dealer put in the order. If the unsold car hit the dealer showroom, that would have looked wrong based on all the previous communications.
didn't i and some others say?

but i think lexus made the right move by taking up that car as lexus usa car. much better to have production car to eliminate any questions. and i think that's the best thing to show to other prospective buyers as well when lexus try to sell the remaining cars. now if more cars show up at dealerships...

i also find it interesting that some owners bought more than one. thought lexus wants to be more diversity on the owners and want them to drive the car. unless the owners (let's say he) bought one for himself and one for his wife, both to be driven often. now that would be very cool
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Old 03-10-11, 12:11 PM   #114
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I think 07 spoke to the multiple purchase point saying a couple of folks bought both a regular and a ring car.
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Old 03-10-11, 04:22 PM   #115
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If they're getting a ring car, what is the difference in weight? It must be pretty cut back if there's to be that much difference. Unless the tires and suspension modifications make it perform that much better, or the front and rear aero? Any details on the Nurb edition, on how much it would weigh? And I've heard that the US purchasers won't get the carbon fiber center console or the recaro buckets. That true?
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Old 03-10-11, 06:15 PM   #116
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Gengar, again, thanks for the thorough feedback. The more there is of this, the better the portrait of the car becomes. I can't wait for the videos. Thanks for using my tip, lol!
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Old 03-11-11, 05:15 AM   #117
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Some more info:
- Paul mentioned the total US allocation is 173.
- The gray prototype is going back to Japan at end of month for wear and tear study after more than 13K track miles. It was mentioned that this unit costed around $2.5 mil being the prototype with a lot of custom work done on it.
- Lexus USA is a bit nervous in loaning their LFAs to magazines to do comparison tests, fearing if crashed they would have nothing left to do marketing events.
- I was told that 39 people registered for the driver development class, with 25 being actual owners/buyers. A number of these also bring families and friends.
- I would love to take my car to the track if I can get reasonable insurance coverage when doing so. My instructor has said that I should be able to get coverage if the events are about driver development/safe driving related.
- I fully agree with Gengar that driving the car has validated so many things about the car and the buying decision
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Old 03-11-11, 08:18 AM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07grIS350 View Post
Some more info:
- Paul mentioned the total US allocation is 173.
- The gray prototype is going back to Japan at end of month for wear and tear study after more than 13K track miles. It was mentioned that this unit costed around $2.5 mil being the prototype with a lot of custom work done on it.
- Lexus USA is a bit nervous in loaning their LFAs to magazines to do comparison tests, fearing if crashed they would have nothing left to do marketing events.
- I was told that 39 people registered for the driver development class, with 25 being actual owners/buyers. A number of these also bring families and friends.
- I would love to take my car to the track if I can get reasonable insurance coverage when doing so. My instructor has said that I should be able to get coverage if the events are about driver development/safe driving related.
- I fully agree with Gengar that driving the car has validated so many things about the car and the buying decision
You have to read your policy very carefully and get a rider from your insurance company. Most tracks are not covered from the moment you get your car on the track, regardless of the intentions. You can buy daily policies in some cases but they can be very pricy.
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Old 03-11-11, 08:50 AM   #119
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Bummer! Lexus had been given unfinished prototypes to everyone and his brother in the last year in Europe and USA. Now it is time to set the record straight with the finished product and Lexus is worried about losing the LFA?

I was hoping the black production LFA will be given atleast to a couple of publications (CarAndDriver and RoadAndTrack) so that they can do some thorough testing to reveal its real prowess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 07grIS350 View Post
Some more info:
- Paul mentioned the total US allocation is 173.
- The gray prototype is going back to Japan at end of month for wear and tear study after more than 13K track miles. It was mentioned that this unit costed around $2.5 mil being the prototype with a lot of custom work done on it.
- Lexus USA is a bit nervous in loaning their LFAs to magazines to do comparison tests, fearing if crashed they would have nothing left to do marketing events.
- I was told that 39 people registered for the driver development class, with 25 being actual owners/buyers. A number of these also bring families and friends.
- I would love to take my car to the track if I can get reasonable insurance coverage when doing so. My instructor has said that I should be able to get coverage if the events are about driver development/safe driving related.
- I fully agree with Gengar that driving the car has validated so many things about the car and the buying decision
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Old 03-11-11, 09:04 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by 05RollaXRS View Post
Bummer! Lexus had been given unfinished prototypes to everyone and his brother in the last year in Europe and USA. Now it is time to set the record straight with the finished product and Lexus is worried about losing the LFA?

I was hoping the black production LFA will be given atleast to a couple of publications (CarAndDriver and RoadAndTrack) so that they can do some thorough testing to reveal its real prowess.
well i think one way or another they have to find a way to get this (or another) lfa out for testing and review
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