Answering The Nightcall In The 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition - IMBOLDN
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The 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition is a spectacular car that is hard to justify on paper. It’s a special edition four-passenger performance coupe tuned by Lexus’ GT3 racing team. Unlike most special edition models, the Fuji Speedway Edition does not announce its exclusivity with a bespoke badge, signature plaque, or writing its name on the glove box lid. The only tell on this poker-faced sports car has a complete carbon fiber aero kit. However, underneath the seemingly stock bodywork is a tweaked, tuned, and modified luxury coupe that handles like a race car, sounds like a muscle car, and rides like a GT sports car. 

Photo by Jesus Garcia

The demands of a day job meant the night was the only time I could test the Lexus RC F Fuji. As a result, I saw the sunrise every night during the week-long road test. This JDM track-prepped luxury-spec muscle car is surprisingly an excellent vehicle for driving when everyone else is asleep. For seven nights, I lived out the intro to the 2011 film Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, the only movie from this century to perfectly capture the romance of cruisin’ at night. This race-prepped GT sports coupe became the ideal machine to answer the night call. 

Photo by Jesus Garcia

What Makes the Fuji Speedway Edition, Special 

My previous article on the 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition explained what makes this car special. The key is in the details, as merely looking at the stats is not enough to appreciate the work that went into this race-prepped limited-edition Lexus. The car was developed by Lexus’ GT3 racing team and tested at Fuji Speedway. This variant of the RC F is lighter, sharper, and tuned to an exact measurement to deliver a comfortable GT daily driver with a track-day attitude.

The Fuji Speedway Edition will reach 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, making it slightly quicker than the standard RC F.

The car’s power source is the same naturally aspirated 472-hp 5.0-liter V8 offered in the standard Lexus RC F. However. The Fuji Speedway Edition is roughly 120 pounds lighter with six-piston Brembo ceramic disc brakes and titanium mufflers. The interior is dressed with unique, red, carbon fiber trim. The Fuji Speedway Edition will reach 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, making it slightly quicker than the standard RC F. The main significant drawback to the Fuji Speedway compared to the RC F is its $32,000 dollar price increase with a starting price of $97k. 

The Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition is the Race Car Bed You Always Wanted to Drive 

For anyone who grew up sleeping in, or wanting, a race car bed, the 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition will tap into that inner child’s mindset. It has the look and performance of a race car matched with a plush, comfortable interior that caters to the best of both worlds. It is impossible not to feel giddy when you glance at the rearview mirror and see the big carbon fiber wing cutting across the view. A reminder that you are in a track-bred car. 

The ride quality depends on the drive mode you choose. Eco is the most comfortable and Sport+ is its most “hardcore” setting. Switching from Eco to Sport+ mode on the fly while driving is an entertaining sensation as you feel the car twitch and go on immediate alert. Like a sleeping dog hearing footsteps approaching the front door. 

Switching the traction control off while in Sport+ mode also turns off the car’s stability control – this is represented by the word “EXPERT” appearing on the instrument cluster. Seeing it reminded me of a pizza grease-covered steering wheel of an arcade racing game where choosing the fastest car and fastest track meant playing in “expert” mode. This little detail adds to the RC F Fuji’s arcade driving sensation. 

I want to thank Lexus for keeping a manual parking brake in the 2021 Lexus RC. Forget saving the manual transmissions. We need to focus on demanding manual hand/foot parking brakes in modern vehicles – that’s where the real fun is had. 

Maneuvering through parking lots and twisty neighborhood streets can be delightfully entertaining in this leather and suede upholstered go-kart.  

Highway travel is as one expects in a Lexus. The RC F Fuji glides over miles. Even with its sports-tuned suspension, the car manages to absorb the harsh bumps and road imperfections before the vibrations reach your spine. The comfy ride can sometimes make you forget that you are in an agile sports car. Turning is where the RC F Fuji shines the brightest. The Lexus RC F Fuji reacts with the swiftness of a magic card trick. Maneuvering through parking lots and twisty neighborhood streets can be delightfully entertaining in this leather and suede upholstered go-kart.  

Nit Picking the Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway 

When I first saw the 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition in Dallas, Texas, earlier in the summer, I remarked positively about the car’s lack of flare in terms of bespoke badging. But, after spending several days driving the car around town and getting compliments, I have some edited opinions. Part of the fun of owning a limited or bespoke trim model is telling people about it. While I appreciate the Lexus did not plaster the word “Fuji” across the carbon fiber hood or draw a silhouette of the track on the dash, it would have been nice to have at least one small badge telling people this car cost more for a reason. 

Beyond the carbon fiber aero package, there is no pin-point badge, emblem, or a name that tells people this car is one of only 60 cars ever built. Of course, owners will get a bespoke wristwatch that matches the RC F Fuji Speedway, but it was not included with the car when I test drove it. The car’s character is a subtle, stealth performer who does not need go-fast stripes or bright colors to prove its capability. However, once I told people how much the Fuji Speedway Edition adds to MSRP, you could see their eyes scanning around the car, looking for justification. The best way to prove to people this car is indeed unique is by letting them sit in the passenger seat and hitting the loud pedal.

Beyond the carbon fiber aero package, there is no pin-point badge, emblem, or a name that tells people this car is one of only 60 cars ever built.

Drive modes bring up another pet peeve. You can only turn off the car’s traction control when it is in Sport+. That seems reasonable. However, Sport+ is not the most comfortable setting for urban city driving – unless you like looking like a bobblehead driving over every crack, pothole, and speed bump. In an ideal scenario, one should be allowed to switch off TC in any drive mode for a more personalized driving experience. 

One other nit-pick with the 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition is that it does not have a blind-spot monitoring system. A detail I missed and yearned for when I struggled to turn my neck and look beyond the tall bolstering of the F Sport bucket seats. It felt odd having to check my blind spot manually in a six-figure luxury performance coupe. Then again, the Fuji Speedway Edition is race-prepped, so maybe it was not included to save weight?  

An Lexus RC for Everyone 

Only 60 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Editions exist. However, the Lexus RC lineup offers a variant for anyone looking for a premium four-passenger coupe. The Lexus RC 300, with a starting price of $42k, is the base of the lineup. This entry level variant offers a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine producing 241-hp and 258 lb.-ft of torque. If you opt for the optional all-wheel drive, the RC 300 gains a 3.5-liter V6 producing 260-hp and 258 lb.-ft of torque. Moving up to the RC 350 gets you the same 3.5-liter V6 with a power boost of 311-hp and 280 lb.-ft of torque. 

Lexus has the RC F in a separate segment with a starting price of $65k. For your money, you get a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 producing 472-hp and 395 lb.-ft of torque capable of launching the RC F from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph. Standard equipment on the Lexus RC F includes Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires, Launch Control, high-performance Brembo brakes, and a limited-slip rear differential. 

The JDM Muscle Car 

As stated earlier, I mostly drove the Lexus RC F Fuji at night. Even under the cloak of darkness, people admired the car. I got thumbs-up and comments on the street from strangers telling me they liked the red Alcantara leather interior, the carbon fiber exterior, and the general presence the car commands. Its premium fuel diet weighed heavy on my wallet while averaging a combined 23 mpg. Yet, I did not care because the car drove beautifully – quality is rarely cheap. The Lexus RC F, in general, is an ideal sports coupe for people who crave classic V8 power with premium amenities. 

Photo by Jesus Garcia

One can reasonably assume that many, if not most, of the 60 limited edition 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition cars will not be used for daily commuting. Sure, some will get the occasional weekend drive to a Cars and Coffee show or get treated to a track-day event. But whatever fate awaits the other 59 cars, at least we know the miles on this specific model were enjoyed and earned with purpose.