I Drive a Fast Car

08/31/2010—Lexus owner Dave Schotz caused quite a stir in the auto blogosphere this August. The reason? Schotz took his everyday Lexus IS F—the same car he uses to drop his kids off at school and day care—to a National Auto Sport Association amateur time-trial event at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. He then proceeded to beat everybody’s heavily modified race vehicles. (Rumor had it that his wife didn’t even know what he was up to.) As it turned out, besides sharing many traits of Lexus drivers everywhere—professionally successful, dedicated family person—Dave is also an avid, and talented, race driver. We decided to get to know him better:

Lexus: Dave, first of all, who are you and what’s your day job?

Schotz: I start up and manage productivity-focused call centers. Currently, I’m vice president for the number one Residential Solar Power Provider in Southern California, Verengo Solar Plus. My wife’s name is Christy, and we have two children, an 8-year-old son, Cameron, and a 4-year-old daughter, Madison.

Dave Schotz | © Dave Schotz

Okay, tell us about the race—did you really just drive your personal IS F to the track and compete, or is there more to the story?

Yes, a friend of mine had never done an amateur track day before. As we’d discussed a lot of my car racing, I encouraged him to come out for a weekend to do a local NASA track day. I typically race a CMC Camaro [Camaro-Mustang Challenge racing class], but since he was bringing his “daily driver,” I thought, well, I might as well bring mine.

We found reference to you being a three-time SCCA solo national champion, two-time NASA road-racing national champion, and founder of We miss anything?

Yeah, actually it’s three Solo National Championships, four Pro Solo National Championships, two NASA National Championships, and yup, founder of I enjoy all cars, makes and models, and respect all forms of racing!

Tell us about your “daily driver” IS F. Has it had any aftermarket modifications?

Yes, very subtle. I have an AFE drop-in Air Filter and a Borla Cat Back Exhaust. Other than that, it is 100 percent stock. For the race day, I put on a set of 285/30/18 Hoosier R6s, and a set of 18 X 9.5-inch Enkei PF01 wheels, along with a set of Carbotech brake pads. I removed these once I got home from the race, dropped the stock pads back in, put the factory wheels and tires back on, and then drove the car to work the following morning.

Word is you didn’t inform your wife of your plans to do this. Given the potential for high-speed damage, how exactly did you plan to broach the subject if things went awry?

Well, if that happened, I would have had to tell my wife how reckless this “other driver” on the freeway was, and what I had to do to miss him, and how I ended up taking out the guardrail!

Lexus IS F | © Dave Schotz

Ah, good backup plan.

Luckily, I put the car back to normal before she ever had a clue. I literally got home at about 10 p.m. Sunday night (I have a lift in the garage), put the car up on the lift, swapped out the tires and brakes that evening, and went to bed at 11 p.m. I then took it to get hand-washed and waxed Monday morning. And the car looked as good as the day I bought her!

How would you describe the IS F’s strengths in this kind of racing environment?

I’ve got to tell you, I expected it to be like driving a Lexus on the streetıııthe quiet, comfortable, smooth experience. But on the track, it honestly became a completely different animal. It was “at home,” to put it best. The Brembo brakes with my Carbotech pads were the best I’ve ever felt. The car outperformed everything on the trackıııCorvettes, Porsches, BMWs. I even let my dad run the car on the track for my last session on Saturday—he has a Corvette Z06—and he couldn’t believe how the car turned, broke, and accelerated.

What top speed do you think you hit?

One hundred sixty miles per hour, and the car held 150 miles per hour in the oval. It was very impressive! However, my tires were smaller than OEM by about one half or three quarters of an inch or so, so if taking that into account, it was probably actually 155 mph and 145 mph in the oval. Still a blast!

Any exciting, elating, or scary moments during the race that stuck in your mind?

Well, my dad will probably never be allowed to drive the car again! He was definitely amazed by the car’s grip, and how well it performed, that I think it raised his confidence level a bit too much—surely more than I was comfortable with as a passenger! But I can see why—as a driver, the car just makes everything seem effortless, very impressive.

We’ve seen a few amusing comparisons between you and Top Gear’s The Stig. Care to comment? Can we assume you don’t race in an all-white outfit?

I do have a white one, but I raced in a black Sparco race suit and helmet, so I wasn’t White Stig. However, I do think I could post a faster lap than him!

Was this your IS F’s last hurrah on the racetrack, or can we look for you to bring it out again some day?

That is a tough question, I really only did this to encourage a friend to go out and enjoy his own automobile, and do it somewhere safe. I really enjoy just driving the car every day, dropping the children at school and day care. But knowing how well it performed that sunny weekend in California will always be special, so there’s no telling whether we’ll just have to make another appearance at a track near you. —INTERVIEW BY CLARK HEIDEGER

Legal Disclaimers

Vehicle shown is modified with non-genuine Lexus parts and accessories. Modification with non-Genuine Lexus parts or accessories will void the Lexus warranty, may negatively impact vehicle performance and safety, and may not be street legal.