11/30/2011—Finishing the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race is an epic feat—this year, only about 56 percent of starting vehicles made it to the end. The sheer distances and rugged terrain wreak all kinds of havoc on the cars, and it’s the lucky teams that suffer the kind of damage that can be fixed on the spot.
So to breeze through several checkpoints without requiring any mechanical work to get you on your merry, teeth-rattling way again...well, that’s beyond impressive.
Case in point: Here’s racing champ Joe Bacal’s heavily modified Lexus LX (above) as it arrived at the team’s Ojos Negros Valley checkpoint—and the only equipment needed to continue was Joe’s winter driving gloves to keep his hands warm in anticipation of the next leg’s water-splashing stream crossings.
Another case in point: Further along, at Pit No. 4, the only thing the team needed after completing the preceding 250-mile San Felipe loop—one of the toughest sections of the course—was fuel.
The final Baja 1000 result for the Lexus LX and Bacal’s JTGrey Racing team this year: a flawless performance that led to a very respectable second place.
By the way, if you haven’t seen Joe Bacal’s new second off-road racing LX (also heavily modified, of course—it even includes paddle shifters), check out our recent how-it-was-made story.
Joe expects the new LX to make its racing debut at January’s Laughlin Desert Challenge in Nevada. We’re looking forward to yet another flawless performance.
—BRIAN GILL, MANAGING EDITOR (PHOTOS BY PAUL WILLIAMSEN)
 LX model shown is a special modified Baja race project for racing purposes by professional drivers only.
 Vehicle shown is a special project car, modified with non-Genuine Lexus parts and accessories. Modification with these non-Genuine Lexus parts or accessories will void the Lexus warranty, may negatively impact vehicle performance and safety, and may not be street legal.