2011 Geneva Motor Show: Lexus LFA with Nurburgring Package is an orange fantasy

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 1, 2011

Lexus is celebrating a recent hat trick of class victories at the Nürburgring 24 Hours by offering the Nürburgring Package – a setup similar to the LFA units that raced at the event. Since it features a track-focused setup, the Nürburgring Package includes a set of aerodynamic elements and suspension tweaks as well as modifications to its 4.8-liter V10 engine.

The package’s aerodynamic supplements – designed to further increase downforce at high speed – include modifications as well as additions to a number of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components like a larger front spoiler, a canard fin, fin-type side spoilers and a fixed rear wing.

Suspension tweaks, meanwhile, are designed to improve the vehicle’s handling. It also features suspension tuning as well as a ride height lowered by 10 mm. The Nürburgring Package also includes exclusive mesh-type wheels wrapped in high-grip tires. On the other hand, a number of modifications were also fitted with a 4.8-liter V10 engine to allow it to deliver 10 bhp more in max power output to 562bhp, allowing it to sprint from zero to 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds.

Its six-speed sequential transmission features a shift time of just 0.15 seconds. Customers could choose from four exterior finishes -- matte black, black, white and orange – and from three interior themes -- black and red, black and purple and all-black. Those delivered in Europe are bound to be specified with a carbon fiber center console and door trims as well as carbon fiber sports seats finished in Alcantara.

Customers who ordered the Nürburgring Package will have an opportunity to experience a one-to-one driving instruction from a Nürburgring chief instructor. They will also be given a one-year tuition to drive their LFA on the famous Nordschleife circuit. Lexus commenced production of the LFA in December, finishing one hand-crafted example a day. In total, around 175 craftsmen take part in CFRP parts manufacturing, vehicle assembly and painting.

The use of CFRP on the LFA is just sensible, since it is remarkably strong, rigid and lightweight. Accounting for around 65 percent of the LFA’s body structure weight, CRFP allows this type of body to be around 100kg lighter than an equivalent all-aluminum body. Production and assembly of the CFRP components are all done in-house – a process that consumes more time than working with aluminum or steel.

For now, the LFA project also serves as a test bed for new, automated processes that could be used to produce and assemble Lexus and Toyota models in the future. In fact, the LFA is built using various manufacturing technologies to produce each component, depending on its shape, role and properties: Pre-preg, Carbon Fiber – Sheet Molding Compound (C-SMC) and Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM).

Pre-pregs are industry-standard pre-impregnated composite fibers where epoxy resin is already present. Pre-preg is used for the primary structural elements of the LFA like the dash, side and cross-members and panels. C-SMC, meanwhile, is a ready-to-mold carbon-fiber reinforced polyester material used for fabricating upper body components and frames with complex geometries. RTM, on the other hand, is dry sheet fabrication process which utilizes an epoxy resin injected into the mold.

This process is used to fabricate the secondary main frames of the LFA, like the crash boxes, roof side rails and vehicle floor. While Lexus is building just 500 examples of the LFA, it will only equip 50 of them with the Nürburgring Package. These LFA units equipped with the Nürburgring Package will be built in 2012, the second full year of LFA production.

Press Release


To celebrate the LFA’s hat-trick of class wins at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race, Lexus has created the Nürburgring Package, an array of aerodynamic features, suspension adjustments and revisions to the 4.8-litre V10 engine that give the supercar a more track-focused profile. Shown in public for the first time at the Geneva motor show, the performance option is available on just 50 of the 500 cars that will be built. These versions will be crafted during 2012, the second full year of LFA production.

To sharpen the car’s circuit driving performance even further by increasing downforce at high speed, the Nürburgring Package introduces modifications and additions to several key carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components. These include a larger front spoiler, fin-type side spoilers, a canard fin and a fixed rear wing.

To ensure the LFA maintains its 3.7-second acceleration time from nought to 62mph, in spite of the increased drag, the V10 engine has been revised to increase maximum power by 10bhp to 562bhp. Shift times in the six-speed sequential transmission are just 0.15 seconds.

In terms of handling modifications, the package features suspension tuning and a 10mm reduction in the ride height. Exclusive mesh-type wheels are introduced, fitted with dedicated high-grip tyres.

Exterior colour choices are restricted to matte black, black, white or orange, with interiors finished in black and red, black and purple and all-black. Cars delivered in Europe will feature a carbon fibre centre console and door trims, with carbon fibre sports seats finished in Alcantara.

Customers who specify the package will also be offered one-to-one driving tuition from a Nürburgring chief instructor and a year’s pass to enjoy their car on the famous Nordschleife circuit.

CFRP parts manufacturing
LFA production began in December with just one hand-crafted car completed per day. A team of 175 people are involved in CFRP parts manufacturing, vehicle assembly and painting.

CFRP is exceptionally strong, rigid and lightweight, and accounts for about 65 per cent of the LFA’s body structure weight. This amounts to a saving of about 100kg, compared an equivalent all-aluminium body.

Lexus is producing and assembling the CFRP components in-house, with a view to future development of the technology. It is a time-consuming process, compared to working with steel or aluminium, but the LFA project provides a valuable test bed for new, automated processes which will be used in the manufacture of future Lexus and Toyota models.

Different manufacturing technologies are used according the shape, role and required properties of each component.

Pre-preg: this is an industry-standard composite sheet material made of carbon fibre, pre-impregnated with epoxy resin. It is used for the LFA’s main structural elements, such as the dash, side and cross-members and panels.
Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM): this is dry sheet fabrication, with epoxy resin injected into the mould. It is mainly employed in the LFA’s secondary main frames, such as the crash boxes, roof side rails and vehicle floor.
Carbon fibre – Sheet Moulding Compound (C-SMC): this is used for fabricating the upper body components and frames that have complex geometries.

Adhesive bonding
The LFA assembly line moves through five consecutive processes, each of which has been digitally validated. For the first four – sub-assembly, underbody, small aluminium parts and main body – adhesive bonding is used. Final assembly of the aluminium parts is by mechanical fastening.

This is the first time Lexus has used adhesive bonding for main body assembly, a process that has required new quality control measures to be implemented to ensure each of the five stages involved in the bonding meets the required criteria.


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