Top Toyota Test Driver Killed in Lexus LFA Crash near Nürburgring


Toyota master test driver, Hiromu Naruse, was killed in a crash on Highway 410 near Germany’s Nürburgring circuit today. He was test driving a Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition and was 67 years old. Naruse has been a driver for Toyota since 1963, involved with the development of cars such as the 2000GT, Sports 800, 1600GT, the Toyota 7, AE86, AW11 MR2, Supra, and many others. Toyota employs 300 test drivers, but Naruse was known as the “Meister,” the highest-ranked among them all.

Details are not clear yet; all we know at the moment is that the LFA and ad BMW collided, killing Naruse and seriously injuring the driver and passenger of the BMW as well. Most haunting is his quote from a recent interview in Lexus Magazine: “When we raced the LFA in Nardo, Italy, I thought I might not return to Japan alive.” RIP, Naruse-san. German news report below the fold

[Rhein-Wied via Autoblog, Image: Lexus Magazine]

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10 Responses to Top Toyota Test Driver Killed in Lexus LFA Crash near Nürburgring

  1. Alan said:

    Jalopnik reports it was a public road, not the Nurburgring – also the pictures do not look like any part of the track, furthrmore their would not be opposed-direction traffic on the track.

    RIP Naruse-san.

  2. Lincoln Stax said:

    Autoblog has a very well written article about Naruse-san here:
    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/23/seat-time-with-hiromu-naruse/

    It sounds like not just Toyota, but every fan of well-designed Japanese cars has lost something important. That he died not on the ‘Ring itself but on a public road outside it is a tragic irony.

  3. Nigel said:

    For a person such as Hiromu Naruse to have driven as test driver for so long, there will be something missing the next time Toyota makes a true sports car. The one person from Toyota who can “understand” what connects all those great cars is now gone.

    R.I.P. Hiromu Naruse.

  4. Sr-FairladyZ said:

    Yea, I read about this yesterday. Ugh!! RIP Hiromu Naruse.

    http://gazoo.com/racing/english/grmn/meister/vol_01/page04.asp

  5. J.Ramirez said:

    Sucks.. RIP. Hopefully didn’t suffer too much.

    With all due respect… he died in an awesome car, hopefully enjoying what he had loved doing all these years…

  6. kingtoy said:

    RIP sir, your historic contributions will not be forgotten. I also hope that he did not suffer and died instantly.

  7. madfaber said:

    He had the best job in the world. And judging from his last quote he knew exactly what he was geting himself into and at 67 he was still pushing the limits and taking it the ragged edge every time he got behind the wheel. You rocked Naruse-san, Iam gunna do a lap in your honor saturday.

  8. Ben said:

    Nigel: It’s amazing he was still driving at 67, isn’t it? I don’t forsee myself being able to do much more than open a can of beans at 67 at the rate I’m going.

  9. Alan said:

    not the Nurburgring, not the Nurburgring – sing it with me now, not the Nurburgring…

  10. Kevin Truong said:

    He was passionate about cars. And untimely, but left here driving the baddest Toyota right now.

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