The new Lexus GT500 has made a rare public appearance at the Toyota Motorsports Festival at Fuji Speedway in Japan.
This black prototype, the firm's first supercar, ran in this summer’s Nurburgring 24 Hours, and this is the first time it’s been photographed in such detail.
Still referred to as LF-A by Lexus officials, although the car is more likely to be badged GT500 in production, it was driven by Akio Toyoda, Toyota executive vice president and scion of the Toyoda dynasty that founded Toyota.
An arch motorsport enthusiast and one of the prime movers behind the car, Toyoda drove the Lexus LF-A for two laps around Fuji.
Without the support of Toyoda, a high flier long tipped to be the next president/CEO of Toyota, the LF-A would most likely already have been canned.
Well connected sources in Japan believe the car is now finally signed off, after years of uncertainty about its future. Toyota is believed to have settled on a limited run of 500 cars, priced at around ¥25 million to ¥30 million (£175,000-210,000) each.
At those prices, Toyota managers are understandably nervous about committing the car to production, especially in today’s economic climate.
But LF-A watchers in Japan believe that Toyota will launch the car late next year, in time for the Tokyo show, with sales commencing in 2010.
The once-mooted hybrid version has been canned and the 200mph LF-A will run with the existing 4.8-litre V10, which produces “over 500bhp”.