• Nov 5, 2010
Toyota pays tribute to one of its icons, Hiromu Naruse – Click above to watch the video after the jump

Master Test Driver Hiromu Naruse was, and still is, a legend for Toyota. The man had a hand in nearly every single important sports car to come from the automaker. He's logged more hours on the Nürburgring than any other Japanese driver, and those at Toyota called him the "Nur Miester," or "one and only master," while friends at Ferrari referred to him as "the man who knows all the world's roads." His job was to drive cars, evaluate them and help figure out how to make them better. When he was done at the office, he raced cars simply because he loved doing it.

His final masterpiece was the Lexus LF-A, and Naruse made sure it fit in with his highest of 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 a technical wonder, which our own senior editor called "a harbinger of the future and proof that immensely entertaining things are on the way from Toyota." Editor Lavrinc was lucky enough to get some seat-time with the Master Test Driver, and you would be missing out if you didn't give it a read.

Sadly, it was behind the wheel of a Lexus LF-A where Hiromu Naruse lost his life earlier this year. Toyota has created a short video to honor its one and only master, which you can watch after the jump.

[Source: YouTube]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Nur Meister," is correct. "Nur Miester," is not.

      Regardless, he *was* the master and may he rest in peace.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dying doing what you love, thats how I want to go. And I just love cars, and driving and I feel the only place I can truly shine, is on the track.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Classy until the cheesy segway (sp?) into the lexus banner

      made the whole thing feel like a commercial, which it is
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is a shame none of that passion is translated into Toyota cars of today.....
        • 4 Years Ago
        The LFA is a toyota moto co vehicle. and you think he didn't have a hand in the pre production work on the ft-86 concepts? hmmm
        • 4 Years Ago
        He helped develop the LFA and ISF.. those are cars of today.

        Or did you miss that part? To add to that last time I read the Seinna SE handles well, best performing minivan, The Sport Rav-4 out guns and out-handles everything in its class. The Tunrda 5.7 was called a "Sport truck"

        and Toyota isn't the only brand to seem less passionate.. Do you see the new Jetta? The new 5 series isn't the performance car it used to be with numb handling. The GTR ? basically drives itself.. all the drivers needs to do it turn the wheel.

        So it isn't Toyota... the automobile on a whole is more of a appliance then ever.
      • 4 Years Ago
      RIP!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not to diminish his efforts or accomplishments at Toyota, but what "great" cars came out of Toyota, excluding its racing programs and a handful....Supra's/Celica's, IS-F's, LF-A's, and maybe the origninal 2000GT?

      And what of the two BMW test drivers in the other vehicle?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Naruse truly made Toyota a better company. He had a hand in every single interesting vehicle that came out of Toyota, I wonder what will happen now that he is gone.

      The automotive world lost a legend, that is for sure.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have always loved Toyota and Lexus. I feel almost honored to own one of his creations (a 95' SC300). A beautiful tribute to a wonderful, passionate and inspiring man.
      • 4 Years Ago
      RIP.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It was always my personal feeling that Toyota was a soulless company entirely interested in automation and efficiency, but reading about Naruse's story (and seeing this tribute to his passion) changes my mind. Dam good advertising (weather or not intentional), definitely made me change my mind.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Theres alot about Toyota many dont know... They are much more then what they seem. They do alot behind the sence.
      • 4 Years Ago
      R I P

      Least he died doing what he loved... went out driving Toyotas best product.
        • 4 Years Ago
        He also went out driving his best creation.

        I am sure that would have been one of the ways he would want to go anyway, albeit not in the same situation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gruv, you are epically wrong.

        long after the final design parameter has been set, the car can take on any number of characters.

        it is the painstaking infinite tedium of the testing and iteration process that sets the correct stiffness of every one of dozens of bushings acting in the suspension and steering, the exact damping curves, the spring rates, the camber/toe/caster, the final tire/wheel sizes and compounds, the ECU tuning, and on and on and on and on.

        anyone who has any experience with tuning cars, or hell, even RC cars, knows what a giant pile of nonsense it is to say it all ends with the engineers and designers, the investment castings and CNC tool paths.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @gruv
        Dude you're epically wrong-he was chief mechanic/engineer on several of those cars and even before he got to be chief he had input on the cars. He wasn't always a chief test driver-he just continued to do that even after he wasn't a company mechanic anymore. On top of all that he started toyota motorsports so a lot of those cars wouldn't ever have existed withput him pushing for them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ gruv: Not getting attention much lately?
        • 4 Years Ago
        There there Gruv, you're surely important as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gruv,
        As a design ME myself, I can still relate that he was the person who provided the feel the car gives the driver, in many respects, and therefor can be looked as the the "one" who brings it to life. Sometimes those fine details that pass others by are what makes something truly great, or a POS.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There must be some dust in the air, but my eyes itch and are watery after that video.

      @Gruv. You can't just design a vehicle and win races. You need driver input. You need input from someone who knows the intricacies of the track. They must know the feel. Honda consulted Ayrton Senna before, during, and after the creation of the NSX. He didn't create it, but you better believe he helped hone it.

      And so did Naruse. He helped sharpen these vehicles into what they became.

      Back to the "he didn't create them" comment. Well, Virgin racing in F1 had a computer designed car for this year (Computational Fluid Dynamics). They didn't even win or place consistently above the other new teams (Lotus, HRT).

      It's not just driver input. It's development. But without a driver to point your development in the right direction, the car gets lost.
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