The race-modified Lexus GS 450h has returned to the Targa Newfoundland race after competing last year. Running from September 13-20, the team behind the hybrid racer is keeping a great blog over at Autonet. Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s post, after completion of the Prologue stage:
And for our first pass through the much tighter and trickier Torbay stage, I promptly forgot to deactivate the systems before taking off at the start. Cars running before us had spewed quite a bit of sand and gravel on the course, so the VDIM system beeped merrily several times while jerking the car back on what its silicon chip brain considers the best trajectory. The car felt tighter and more stable but the ‘electronic nannies’ as enthusiasts often call these systems, still made the handling feel somewhat disjointed and unsynchronized.
The third run, over the same course but with the VDIM duly shut off, was the charm. Everything flowed together nicely. For the first time at Targa, I was able to pick what I considered the best line through the sections covered with sand and gravel, give it some throttle and keep the car’s attitude consistent. I even – lo and behold – COUNTERSTEERED for the very first time at Targa – ever so slightly – through one of the liberally peppered corners.
Alan also zoomed up to command center to find out about our starting position for tomorrow (Monday) morning. There, even though these numbers don’t count, we discovered that we had racked up the 6th best composite times out of the 65 cars entered in the Targa competition this year, 3rd best in Modern.
It’s great fun reading about the experience of racing in Lexus’ sport sedan, and the writing is fantastic. Great to see them doing so well, more on this as the race progresses.