Toyota spokesman Wade Hoyt has confirmed that Toyota's chief test driver, Hiromu Naruse, has been killed in a crash while testing the company’s upcoming 2012 Lexus LFA supercar in Germany.
A bright orange Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition reportedly driven by the 67-year old Naruse was involved on a head-on collision with a BMW 3-Series on Germany's 410 highway near Eifel, a town close to the Nurburgring. Both cars were traveling in an area with a speed limit of 100 km/h (62 mph). The LFA's front end was accordioned, and it appeared that the driver's airbag had deployed.
The two BMW test drivers, age 34 and 33 years old, survived the crash, though one is reportedly still in critical condition.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Naruse is one of the most respected test drivers in Japan. He first joined Toyota back in 1963, working for the company's Vehicle Evaluation and Engineering Division. He was also heavily involved with Toyota Motorsports, playing an important role in developing the Toyota 2000GT as well as the upcoming Lexus LFA.
The LF-A supercar, with a suggested retail price of $375,000, was revealed in production trim at the 2009 Tokyo motor show and is expected to go into production later this year as a 2012 model with a run of only 500 units. The $70,000 Nürburgring option will be offered on 50 cars, featuring a 562-hp version of the car's 4.8-liter V10 and other exclusive features.
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