follow ft86club on our blog, twitter or facebook. Interested in the FT-1? Check out FT1Club
FT86CLUB
Ft86Club
Prime Motoring
Register Garage Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   Scion FR-S Forum | Subaru BRZ Forum | Toyota 86 GT 86 Forum | AS1 Forum - FT86CLUB > Off-Topic Discussions > Other Vehicles & General Automotive Discussions

Other Vehicles & General Automotive Discussions Discuss all other cars and automotive news here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-26-2010, 11:50 PM   #1
vh_supra26
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Drives: MK4 & FD
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,555
Thanks: 324
Thanked 734 Times in 310 Posts
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
BREAKING: Toyota's chief test driver dies behind wheel of LFA in Germany (RIP Hiromu)



Quote:
According to reports, Toyota's chief test driver, 67-year-old Hiromu Naruse, has died in a crash on highway 410 near the famed Nürburgring race track in Germany. He was driving the recently spied Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition (above) at the time of the accident, and reports say he veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with two others test drivers in a BMW. The two BMW test drivers survived the crash, though one is reportedly still in critical condition. German video of the crash scene after the accident took place can be viewed below. Police are investigating the crash and have yet to determine its cause.

Naruse was heavily involved with the development of the Lexus LFA supercar he was driving, along with many other past sports cars from Toyota's history since he joined the company in 1963. Enthusiasts today call him the "Godfather of the LFA," though he was involved in the development of sports cars for Toyota going as far back as the storied 2000GT from the late 1960s. The prototype of a special edition version of the LFA that he was driving when the accident occurred was reportedly worth 1.5 million euro.
http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/23/b...-germany-ring/
vh_supra26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 11:52 PM   #2
vh_supra26
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Drives: MK4 & FD
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,555
Thanks: 324
Thanked 734 Times in 310 Posts
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Seat Time with Hiromu Naruse



Last October I had the chance to shake hands with one of my heroes. I was attending the launch of the Lexus LFA in Florida, and after taking a few hot laps around Homestead, I was offered a ride with Hiromu Naruse, Toyota's "Master Test Driver" and the man responsible for the automaker's first and last supercar.

At 66 years old, he put me to shame. Smooth inputs, graceful slides and nearly imperceptible throttle inputs had him lapping the track seconds faster than anyone in attendance. Including one race driver. But the LFA wasn't his greatest work.

Naruse-san helped create my childhood dream cars. Stapled above my Countach poster and a cutaway of the Acura NSX was a small picture of the Toyota 2000GT carefully snipped out of my first issue of Road & Track. That was his first baby and there were many more to follow.



While most of my Valley-born peers were interested in muscle cars and pickups, I was fawning over the Sprinter Trueno and the original MR2. When the Lexus IS300 showed up in the late '90s, I scammed my way into one of the first manual models at the local dealer and racked up 30 miles on to the odometer during an elongated "test drive."

Naruse-san was responsible for all of them, and now he's gone. One of the few men left at Toyota passionate about driving has exited stage right, and the automotive world stands to be a worse place without him.
Naruse-san joined Toyota in 1963 and after proving to be a math-wiz, almost landed a gig in the automaker's accounting division. As the cliche holds, fate – and talent – had different plans.



Within a few years he had established himself as one of Toyota's top test drivers and by the end of the 1960s he helped create the 2000GT and Toyota's first custom-built racer, the Toyota 7.
He eventually moved to Switzerland where he worked to establish the Toyota Motorsports group, leading to the automaker's initial participation in the Spa-Francorchamps and Nürburgring races – something he competed in to the very end.

While all that motorsports knowledge was distilled into the road cars he helped develop, at his heart, he was one of us – an enthusiast who, at damn-near 70, was still attacking the Touge on weekends.



In addition to the racecars and the iconic 2000GT, Naruse-san had a hand in every revolutionary product to come out of Toyota. You name it, he was working on it. The 1965 Sports 800. His. The 1600GT. Another one. Every iteration of the Celica. The AE86. The first and third generation MR2s. The Supra. The Altezza. And yes, even the second-generation Prius.






Not only was he instrumental in Toyota's rise, but test drivers and journalists around the world held him in the highest esteem. Known as the "Meister" by his peers and proteges, even the folks at Ferrari addressed him by his nickname – as one bio put it "the man who knows all the world's roads."



And when he wasn't blasting up the mountain passes of his homeland, he was at the Nürburgring. To this day, Naruse-san has logged more miles at the famed circuit than any other Japanese driver. So to end his life on a road outside the track holds an especially sad, if fitting, sentimentality.
When I spoke with him late last year, I stumbled over my words, his interpreter constantly trying to keep up with my incomprehensible blathering. I asked him about the development of the MR-S (which I owned at the time). I asked about the inspiration for the LFA and what it was like to drive the 2000GT. I went on and on, and each time his flustered interpreter would rattle off a few sentences and Naruse-san would pause, think for a moment and answer with a few short, carefully-chosen words.



He was soft-spoken, modest and incredibly warm. It was obvious he was excited about his latest creation; less interested in mulling over past masterpieces, the nearly decade-long development of the LFA and all the technology that had been poured into it. He was focused on the driving experience. How the LFA felt, how it spoke to him and what it was like to race around the 'Ring.



When we returned to the hot-pits, I pulled off my helmet, shook his hand again and thanked him for the ride with a (decidedly gaijin) "arigato." He smiled and tipped his helmet as I made way for the next journo.



I've had the chance to check off a lot of items on my Bucket List while doing this job, but I never thought to add "Seat Time with Hiromu Naruse" to the queue. His creations helped to shape not just Toyota, but nearly every automaker hailing from Japan. And he's largely responsible for all the things I adore about Japanese cars.

If there was ever a time that Toyota needed an injection of driving enthusiasm, it's now. And without Naruse-san to man the helm, his untimely demise will be felt more than ever.
vh_supra26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 11:59 PM   #3
ichitaka05
Site Moderator
 
ichitaka05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Drives: ichi 86 Project
Location: Middle of No where
Posts: 11,026
Thanks: 1,713
Thanked 5,365 Times in 2,434 Posts
Mentioned: 155 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Yeah, read the news few days ago... It was sad, sad day for Japanese Auto company
__________________

ichitaka05 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 09:10 PM   #4
toyofreak
Member
 
toyofreak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Drives: 2003 celica gts,1990 celica alltrac
Location: phelan
Posts: 23
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Wow sad to hear that we lost one of the best and true enthusiast. You will be missed. Just hoped youwould have stuck around longer to give us some good sports cars!
toyofreak is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
FT-86 -- daily driver, weekend car, or garage queen? My86 Scion FR-S / Toyota 86 GT86 General Forum 90 05-27-2012 11:28 PM
BREAKING: Toyota's chief test driver dies behind wheel of LFA in Germany Dark Other Vehicles & General Automotive Discussions 3 06-23-2010 05:16 PM
FT-86 section from Toyota's 2010 Geneva media guide Hachiroku Scion FR-S / Toyota 86 GT86 General Forum 22 03-04-2010 03:32 AM
Toyota’s chief tester? The boss Axel Other Vehicles & General Automotive Discussions 7 12-30-2009 09:44 PM
Toyota's Megaweb Axel Other Vehicles & General Automotive Discussions 3 12-08-2009 02:46 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Garage vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.