Lexus revealed today more photos with the Nürburgring Package available for the LFA supercar, which will be shown to the public for the first time next week, at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. For those who don’t know, the Nürburgring Package was created in order to celebrate LFA’s hat-trick of class wins at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race and will be available on just 50 of the 500 LFAs.
As you can see from the photos, the new package introduces modifications and additions to several key carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components, such as a larger front spoiler, fin-type side spoilers, a canard fin and a fixed rear wing.
The V10 engine of the car has also been revised and the maximum output has been increased by 10 hp, which means that the car delivers an impressive 562 hp. Thanks to these changes, nought to 62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 202mph are maintained.
Shift times in the six-speed sequential transmission are just 0.15 seconds. According to the manufacturer, the package also features suspension tuning and a 10mm reduction in the ride height, while new mesh-type wheels are introduced.
Regarding the colours, Lexus will offer the Nurburgring Package in 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.
LFA's development program chief engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi said that one of the key elements that define the LFA is the need to maintain the car’s overall weight to a minimum. This led to a dramatic decision in the LFA’s development to switch the construction of the chassis and bodywork from aluminum to advanced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic. This became even more challenging when Tanahashi decided to develop the sophisticated CFRP structure in-house instead of hiring a third-party supplier.
This innovative evaluation that came directly in agreement with the philosophy behind the LFA of dealing with new and advanced material plus production processes was taken with consideration of the past and future. Toyota Motor Corporation's legacy as one of the most advanced textile weaving companies in the world produced a fundamental historical resource, which Tanahashi-san's team made use of during the development of the LFA's CFRP structure.
In history, Toyota Motor Corporation’s innovative development of the automatic weaving machine significantly contributed to Japan’s economy through the production of high-quality materials at reduced costs as well as contributed to society as one.
In the same way, the drastic switch to CFRP production for the development of the LFA pushed the technical limits as the engineers went from the traditional weaving looms of Toyota Motor Corporation to the advanced 3-dimensional carbon fiber looms. Aside from receiving the technological benefits of this development, using lightweight CFRP material instead of heavier metals reduces the impact of the LFA on the environment.
One striking example of the benefit that Tanahashi-san and his team obtained from the weaving legacy of Toyota Motor Corporation was the integration of the company’s developed thread detection technology with the original fabric weaving looms. Improving the mechanical thread sensors using extremely accurate laser technology to check fabric integrity provided the team with a very important awareness of the weaving process as well as saved them crucial time on development.
The CFRP centre section, which is four times the strength of aluminum, not only creates an extremely stiff, strong structure but also gives a lot of weight savings as it reduces body weight to about 100 kg with an aluminum body.
In addition, using CFRP considerably reduces the long manufacturing time for the componentry of the LFA. The choice to develop a CFRP materials technology of its own also guarantees the quality of carbon fiber used, which conforms to the strict standards of the Lexus. In contrast to the small number of performance vehicles constructed with CFRP, the advanced resin technology that the LFA chassis uses is identical to the one used in the latest cutting-edge aerospace programs, preferred for its unrivaled weight and strength qualities.
Widespread use of CFRP causes 65% of the body-in-white weight while the remaining 35% consists of aluminum alloys. The bonnet support strut is made of lightweight CFRP, which takes the place of the conventional, heavier hydraulic bonnet struts.
There are three CFRP molding processes used in the structure, chosen because of their form structure, dynamic load and location. The expensive, labor-intensive hand-laid process, in which carbon fiber sheets infused with liquid thermosetting resin are molded, heated then pressed in a furnace, was mainly used for the cabin to produce an incredibly stiff and stable structure.