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From: john on 26 Jun 2010 21:46
Toyotas chief test driver, Hiromu Naruse, died in a head-on collision
on Wednesday in Germany, the newspaper Rhein-Zeitung reports.
The story was picked up by Autoblog. A Toyota spokesman, Wade Hoyt,
confirmed that Mr. Naruse, 67, had been killed in the crash.
According to Rhein-Zeitung, the accident happened close to Toyotas
workshop near the Nürburgring, an undulating racetrack that automakers
use to test their vehicles.
Photographs and German video of the scene show a yellow Lexus LFA
supercar and a BMW, both heavily damaged and nose-to-nose, along a
slender two-lane road. The LFA that was involved in the crash appeared
to be a prototype.
From: ben91932 on 28 Jun 2010 13:17
That was a collision between a rear engine Lexus and a front engine
BMW which is a larger vehicle.
From: dsi1 on 28 Jun 2010 16:21
On 6/28/2010 7:17 AM, ben91932 wrote:
> That was a collision between a rear engine Lexus and a front engine
> BMW which is a larger vehicle.
> Sad situation...
The Lexus LFA is a front-engined super car. The engine is located
towards the rear so they probably call it a front mid-engine design.
What is it really? It's a front-engined car. At least the guy died
happy. He could have been an office worker in Japan that hated going to
work every day and got drunk every night.
From: dsi1 on 28 Jun 2010 16:27
On 6/28/2010 10:21 AM, dsi1 wrote:
> On 6/28/2010 7:17 AM, ben91932 wrote:
>> That was a collision between a rear engine Lexus and a front engine
>> BMW which is a larger vehicle.
>> Sad situation...
> The Lexus LFA is a front-engined super car. The engine is located
> towards the rear so they probably call it a front mid-engine design.
> What is it really? It's a front-engined car. At least the guy died
> happy. He could have been an office worker in Japan that hated going to
> work every day and got drunk every night.
OTOH, the pics of the Lexus LFA N�rburgring Edition sure does look like
a mid-engined car so you're probably sorta right.
From: Ed White on 28 Jun 2010 18:04
Toyota's loss -- and Toyoda's loss
Crash claims test driver Naruse, who helped craft cars and mentor a
Automotive News -- June 28, 2010 - 12:01 am ET
Hans Greimel is Asia editor of Automotive News.
TOKYO -- The death of master test driver Hiromu Naruse, killed last
week in his beloved Lexus LFA sports car at the Nurburgring complex in
Germany, is a loss not just for Toyota Motor Corp. but for President
The 67-year-old veteran, dubbed the Meister of Nurburgring, helped
fine-tune a generation of Toyota's best cars, from the 2000GT of the
'60s and Supra of the '80s to today's LFA. But his impact as mentor of
the founding family's scion was just as important.
The weathered, white-haired Naruse was the first to challenge Toyoda's
car guy street cred by pushing him to become a certified performance
driver, not just an armchair aficionado.
"The second thing he told me was that test drivers have a very
dangerous job. You must understand the risks," Toyoda recalled Naruse
warning him at the start of his training.
On Wednesday, June 23, Naruse's yellow-orange LFA crossed the center
line on a road just outside the race course and smashed head-on into a
BMW carrying two other test drivers. They both survived, although one
was in critical condition a day later.
It was easy to understand Naruse's sway. Within Toyota, he loomed as
an Obi-Wan Kenobi figure commanding cultlike reverence. When I met him
last month in Germany on the sidelines of the Nurburgring 24-hour
endurance race, I found an intense, no-nonsense car fanatic who left
no doubt about his confidence or control behind the wheel, despite his
His exacting standards helped perfect the $375,000 LFA, which stands
at the pinnacle of the Toyota lineup, not just in price but in
engineering and performance.
Hiromu Naruse helped shape Toyota, from its cars to its president,
Akio Toyoda -- whom Naruse prodded to become a certified performance
Naruse met Toyoda long before he became president -- and was less than
"He was young. At times the car might have been more in control of the
driving than him," Naruse said. The hardest part of the training was
"overcoming fear and knowing the car's limits."
Over the next several years, Toyoda practiced extreme driving every
week under the stern eye of Naruse. The curriculum included high-speed
braking, emergency rollover escapes, pursuit driving and controlled
When Toyoda finally passed his advanced-level test-driver
certification, he was inducted into a club of hotshot drivers -- led
by Naruse himself -- who dub themselves "Top Guns."
"He has a good sense of how a car should feel," Naruse said of
Toyoda's driving. "But he also brings a sense of how customers would
feel in the car, what customers are expecting."
Toyoda now peppers his speech with terminology lifted straight from
Naruse's philosophy about developing cars. Chief among them is
Toyoda's belief in "seasoning" each model.
Naruse's accident casts doubt on who will carry his torch. Clearly,
the master had no plan to hang up the keys so soon.
"I'm only halfway up the stairs," he said last month regarding plans
for future racing and fine-tuning of the LFA super sports car he was
so instrumental in creating. "I'm still ready for the next step."
You can reach Hans Greimel at hgreimel(a)crain.com.
Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100628/OEM02/306289955/