October 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
It’s not everyday that a mainstream automaker decides to try its hand at building a world-class supercar. But when one has the motoring world has been given some of its most interesting machines like the Honda NSX, the Ford GT, the Dodge Viper, and more recently the Lexus LFA.
Any supercar takes years of development with fine-tuning and extensive testing. Toyota learned its lessons with the Lexus LFA and spent year’s and millions preparing the supercar for its debut. Now, to show the world just how tough making a supercar really is, the Japanese automaker has released a ‘making-of’ video. Continue reading “Lexus produces LFA supercar ‘making-of’ video” »
June 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Toyota got import car fans excited at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon when it unveiled a hybrid-power MR2 roadster-based concept car that was developed in partnership with Japan’s Gazoo Racing.
Now, over a year later Toyota is following up on that concept machine with its successor the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II. The new hybird sports car will receive its official unveiling and on track debut this weekend at the 39th Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race.
The name “GRMN” has special meaning for the Japanese brand and stands for Gazoo Racing tuned by Meister of Nürburgring. The car has been named in honour of the late Hiromu Naruse (1944-2010), Toyota’s chief test driver and head of the Gazoo Racing team who died in an accident last year driving a prototype of the Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition in Germany (read news).
The car is an evolution of the earlier concept and features a mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that puts 183kW of power to the rear wheels. The car is also equipped with an electric motor that adds another 37kW and runs the front wheels, giving the hybrid concept all-wheel-drive handling capability. Total power output is rated at 220kW. Continue reading “Toyota to debut GRMN Hybrid Concept II at Nürburgring race” »
November 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Master Test Driver Hiromu Naruse was, and remains a total legend for Toyota. Naruse first joined Toyota back in the sixties and would go on to help develop every important sportscar to come from the carmaker. Naruse worked on such greats as the Celica, MR2 and Supra, he’s logged more hours on the NÃ¼rburgring than any other Japanese driver, and those at Toyota called him the “Nur Miester,” or “one and only master.” His job was, basically, to test drive cars, evaluate them and help figure out how to make them better. But after hours he would also race cars simply because he loved doing it.
His final challenge lay in the developing the Lexus LF-A, and Naruse made sure it reached his highest standards. He was tasked with driving the supercar near its top speed for extended periods of time, often in the dark. The Lexus LF-A is now considered a technical wonder and is one of the most coveted supercars in the world.
Ultimately, it was behind the wheel of a Lexus LF-A where Hiromu Naruse lost his life earlier this year (read news). Toyota has now created a short video to honor its one and only master, which you can watch by clicking below. Continue reading “Toyota honours fallen test drive master Hiromu Naruse with tribute video” »
June 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Toyota’s chief test driver, Hiromu Naruse, has died in a crash on highway 410 near the NÃ¼rburgring race track in Germany. The 67-year old was driving a Lexus LFA NÃ¼rburgring Edition when the crash occurred, and unconfirmed reports say he swerved suddenly into oncoming traffic and impacted in a head-on collision with two others test drivers in a BMW. The two BMW test drivers aged 34 and 33 both survived the crash, although one remains in critical condition. There is a video of the crash scene with commentary in German that can be viewed below. Police are currently investigating the crash and haven’t reached any conclusions so far on its cause.
Naruse began his career with Toyota back in 1963 and was heavily involved with the development of the Lexus LFA supercar, along with many sports cars from Toyota’s past. Enthusiasts describe him as the “Godfather of the LFA,” but it was only his latest achievement as he was involved in the development of sports cars for Toyota going as far back as the famous 2000GT from the late 1960s. Other notable vehicles Naruse helped develop include the first and third generation MR2, the Supra and the Altezza. His final ride which was a prototype of a special edition version of the LFA was reportedly worth 1.5 million euro. Continue reading “Toyota’s chief test driver killed in Lexus LFA prototype crash” »