Rest in Peace Hiromu Naruse.
Below is one of his interviews:
LEXUS Interviewer: Bottom line—what makes a good test driver?
NARUSE: To create the best car, you need the ability to feel it, and to understand it. Think about food. If the first, middle, and last impressions—look, taste, and finish—are good, people remember it with a good feeling. Creating a vehicle is the same. Test drivers are like chefs, and I take the role of head chef.
What was it like to drive the Lexus LFA prototype the first time out?
I have to say, when I drove the LFA for the first time, it was scary. It was like a monster.
You put it through some pretty hairy tests last year.
When we raced the LFA in Nardo, Italy, I thought I might not return to Japan alive. The purpose of this “test” was to evaluate the car’s durability at 200 mph for a long period. The race was in the dark with no lights on the track, plus there were birds flying at me—and imagine if a tire burst! We created the final LFA through these kinds of test experiences.
What’s your most memorable moment as a test driver?
Well, I can you that for a little while during the LFA races, I knew how to draw the back of a Porsche without looking—we had been behind them at first. But when the Lexus LFA passed Porsche for the first time, we had such big emotions! After that, other racing manufacturers started showing us respect. They told us, “Lexus has created such an impressive car!”
What are your top words of wisdom for Lexus’ younger test drivers?
I tell them that the digital technology used to design vehicles, such as a CAD program, does not by itself create a vehicle’s aji, or flavor. As drivers, they need to push to get into their project vehicles and drive them as soon as possible—to me, this is the most efficient way to understand a new vehicle’s challenges. I tell them to trust in the power and ability of a human, a driver, to accomplish this.
So how did you add aji to the LFA?
Here’s one example: at one point during test-driving, while driving the prototype around a high-speed curve, I realized the response I was getting at 4,000 rpm was not what it should be. When I got back to the engineering team, the best way to describe what I wanted was to tell them to make the engine respond “sharp like a Japanese sword.” That’s what they did, and I hope Lexus owners who get a chance to drive the vehicle can feel the results.
Any advice for new owners of the LFA?
First, don’t get caught speeding. I am joking, but let me tell you: the LFA goes fast.
From the below article: