• Oct 23rd 2009 at 7:55PM
  • 46
Click above to view the videos after the jump

Hiromu Naruse is Toyota Motor Company's "master test driver." He's the man responsible for honing our favorite ToMoCo sports cars – from the MR2 to the Supra – and he's one of four drivers that ran the 24 Hours of Nürburgring (along with several other races) in two Lexus LFA prototypes, joining Toyota's president, Akio Toyoda in the #14 car. Yesterday, he became our personal chauffer around the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The only problem: the batteries died on our GoPro camera. Thankfully, 0-60's helmsman Brian Scotto had his own minicam and handed it over when it was our turn to get a few hot laps from the master. After the jump you'll find two videos: one mounted on the inside of the windshield (the suction cup isn't rated over 150 MPH, and we hit 157 MPH on the oval) and another shot by Scotto's iPhone as Naruse-san delicately snaked the Lexus LFA around the Speedway. 3... 2... 1... jump.


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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Deeply jealous.
        • 5 Years Ago
        whats the big deal? the car can make a left turn at 150mph.

        ya'll balk at that every time there is a nascar article on here, and they do it with 40 other cars going 175 at the same time, without all the technical wizardry.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I will take a Porsche Panamera Turbo over this any day, and with $150k left over. Oh, btw, it is also a Porsche!
      • 5 Years Ago
      i love the angry down shifting, the Italians got the sexy sound, the american got the sexy rumble, the japs got the angry beast.
      • 5 Years Ago
      LFA = poor man's F1 car and eurotrash's worst nightmare :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Toyota have not F1 technology.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure Gumpert Apollo, Audi R8, Ultima GTR, Koenigsegg CCX, Pagani Zonda, etc. are scared as hell.
        Or was that a joke???
        • 5 Years Ago
        May have been designed by the guy who worked on F1 engine, except Toyota hasn't performed well in F1.
        • 5 Years Ago

        "The race-bred engine that is the heart of Lexus' new supercar is off-limits to the rest of the model range. That's the official line from the powerplant's designer, ex-F1 engine designer, Takamitsu Okamoto.

        Okamoto, whose portfolio includes engines of the Le Mans Group C prototypes, Group B rally cars, CART turbo V8s and F1, says the hand-assembled V10 is simply too expensive to be used in other Lexus models.

        The compact race-style dry-sumped V10 is assembled by motorcycle specialist Yamaha and features a block that is cast and machined by Toyota's own F1 operation in Toyota City in Nagoya, Japan"...

        • 5 Years Ago
        pft....hardly. The "eurotrash" isn't worried.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't know, but it really felt like that was maybe half power. It seemed slow compared to what it could possibly do with its performance figures, but perhaps its just the perspective from the video.

      Anyway, I love this car; its good to see Toyota has their game face on. I just wish it looked better than it does (and the interior seems a bit drab for a supercar).
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't think he's pushing it that hard at all, I'd say at best 8/10ths
      • 5 Years Ago
      That... That Is Sexy! Sounds Awesome. Nice Track They Picked Out Too. When He Guns It Down The Strightaway It Sounds Beautiful. I Love That Car :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lexus, Can u stop teasing me? I love it already.
      • 5 Years Ago
      FYI, the beeping's annoying while watching a video in front of your computer, but far from annoying on the track. Especially considering your helmet.

      It's actually kinda useful.

      There are definitely pros and cons. With my old S2000, I'd rev that thing up and could hear and feel when to shift. That's fun as hell, but if you want to get precise about gear shifting and track times, relying on engine note can sometimes make you shift a little too soon and lose a few RPM. Do it in the wrong place (going up a hill) and you can lose a lot of speed. I found myself peeking down at my tach in some of the turns. It had a nice big digital "F1" style tach, but the glare from the sun behind me always washed it out. Taking my eyes off the track was distracting and could be dangerous.

      Besides, relying on engine note when you have an engine that goes from Dr.Jekyl to Mr.Hide (Honda Vtech, Toyota VVTi?) in an instant is not very reliable. It's either too quiet or way too loud (but fun nonetheless).

      Anyway, on the same track with my IS-F (which has the same audible beep as in the video), I never had to look down at anything. Just focus on the track, and rev it up. At first, not having a "stick" to shift can make you forget which gear you're in. Especially if you get "paddle happy" and shift too high. And you have 8 friggin' gears. So yeah, during warmup laps you still have to look down at the display to see which gear you're in.

      But after you get to know the track, that's not a problem at all. You almost never, ever have to look down at your display again, (unless you're curious about your speed). Being able to focus completely on the track is a wonderful thing.

      And not having to heel-toe shift/brake (as fun as that is), is great. Rev-matching downshifts with those paddle shifters in all the fast turns is sooooooo much fun, and sooooo much safer. I've seen Porsches, Miatas, and Vipers go right off the track and into the trees after too-aggressive passing then f'ing up a turn. I'm not man enough to pay those repair bills after a crash like that. The worst part? Towing your wreck home and calling your---gulp---wife for a ride home from the track.

      So yeah, the paddle shifters and the beeps are kinda helpful.

      Now, one place where it could use better feedback is when it hits the rev limiter. There are times when you can't always hear the beep, and you go past redline. In the S2000, you could hear and feel the engine sort of "pumping" the throttle to warn you. I swear you could feel it in the gas pedal too. The natural reaction was, "Oops. Ha. Guess I need to ease off here."

      But in the IS-F, no such luck. It just cuts the throttle, and you slow down for a second or two. All that does is make you panic and think you just broke something really expensive, or ran out of fuel. Very distracting and hard to regain focus again.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Who buy that car?

      For $375k, you can buy three Audi R8s.

      More Fast, More beautiful, more race proven, European super car (better than japanese rice cooker)

      Glorified Celica. That is 100% overprice garbage. Only Japanese nationalist and toyota employee buy that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "r8 the poor man's lfa."

        that comment is same as this,
        "Rolls Royce is a poor man's Geely GE."
        • 5 Years Ago
        oh, that poor man's machine LFA pretend to overprice luxury.
        • 5 Years Ago
        if you can buy 3 r8s for one lfa, i guess that makes the r8 the poor man's lfa.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't worry guys, he works for geely.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rar you serious?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lemme translate it.
        It makes R8 triple cheaper than LFA.
      • 5 Years Ago

      One more thing to keep in mind: the LFA uses a carbon fiber monocoque chassis. Other cars that have come out recently with a carbon fiber monocoque chassis:

      Veyron: $1,000,000
      Carrera GT: $440,000
      SLR: $450,000
      Enzo: $643330
      F50: $480,000-$555,000
      • 5 Years Ago
      what a glorious exhaust note! i put my hand on my speakers and the
      bass that resonated from them as the driver downshifted was bliss! i
      wish i was there. i wonder why they chose red leather though, cause
      in my opinion it doesnt look great, but not bad. and same goes for
      the headlight design... it doesnt look as cool as the concept... just
      like the Jaguar XF concept and production model. and the one thing that kinda irks me is the beeping noise indicating you to upshift. i think it's pointless because if you're gonna buy a car like that, you should probably know just by listening to the engine when to upshift... it becomes common sense pretty much. but it sure is still
      one hell of a car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't think too many V12s rev to 9000 though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As somebody previously pointed out, the majority of the customers for this car will be rich, rich guys with too much money to spend, hence the need for noise indication for shifting. Sad differently, this car is not for people with keen interest in cars, much less the enthusiasts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i love how everyone hates on it and yet if toyota gave you one, no one would have any qualms about it.
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