Since its debut at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show, Lexus's upcoming LF-A sports coupe has endured an agonisingly long development period. To make matters worse, Lexus announced back in August that worsening economic conditions had forced it to place the super-coupe project on the backburner. Needless to say, the groan of disappointment from Lexus fans was practically audible.
But now it appears that the Japanese supercar could be closer than we thought, with Toyota recently registering the trademark "LFA" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Of course, that's no guarantee that the finished product is just around the corner, but it's a promising sign that both Lexus and Toyota haven't forgotten about the (now de-hyphenated) LFA.
One such person who's certainly got the LFA at the front of his mind is Akio Toyoda, who recently took to Japan's Fuji Speedway in the LFA prototype that was campaigned at this year's Nurburgring 24 hour enduro. Toyoda, a direct descendant of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda and executive vice president of the company, is one of the key motivators behind the LFA project. His strong support of the project has arguably kept the $200k+ supercar from being scrapped entirely.
Toyodaâ€™s passion for performance cars and his desire to inject a little more sporting pedigree into both Toyota and Lexus gives us confidence that the LFA will eventually find its way into showrooms, but weâ€™re uncertain as to how long the wait will be.
Until that time arrives however, you can appreciate the LFAâ€™s F1-esque howl in these videos of Akio Toyoda driving the racing prototype at the recent Toyota Motorsports Festival in Japan.