A Lexus IS300 SportCross has completed the annual Cape-to-Cape Challenge in a new record time. The standard, road-going car covered the 3,463 miles from Nordkapp in Arctic Norway to Cape Tarifa in southern Spain in 55 hours 24 minutes, averaging 62.51mph and beating the previous best by 31 minutes.
The Lexus’s exceptional reliability and durability served it well in the course of the event, which was flagged off from Nordkapp last Friday morning. The car was piloted by a three-man team led by international motoring journalist and author Brian Laban, with challenge veteran Bill Hardwick and John Coplestone. They beat the second placed Jaguar diesel by over two hours.
The challenge is not a race, but a carefully regulated competition in which the teams must adhere to all national speed limits and plan their route entirely on public highways between continental Europe’s northern and southernmost points.
"We couldn’t have had a better car for the challenge than the Lexus with its combination of superb engine and gearbox, wonderful comfort and a navigation system that was invaluable in helping us plot and keep to the most time-efficient route. Throughout the event, we didn’t incur a single penalty point," said Laban.
"On our return to the UK we had spent nine days in the car and covered more than 8,000 miles without it missing a beat, it was superb. Apart from filling the fuel tank, we didn’t have to touch it."
Although renowned as a performance car, the Lexus IS300 SportCross returned excellent fuel economy for its class. Achieving 475 miles on a full tank, the team recorded a best average consumption of 31.8mpg, over 6 mpg more than the quoted EC combined figure.
The IS300 SportCross is Lexus’s innovative "crossover" car that combines the poise, performance and luxury of the IS300 saloon with the convenience and versatility of a compact five-door estate. Its 211bhp 3.0-litre straight-six engine is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission, driving the rear wheels. This configuration, combined with a near 50:50 front-to-rear weight ratio and double wishbone suspension all round, delivers exceptional handling performance.
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