Stumbled on an insightful speech given by the late Hiromu Naruse, Master Test Driver of Toyota, at a Toyota Altezza/Lexus IS 300 owners event at the Fuji Speedway in 2007 — here are some direct quotes that detail his part in the car’s development:
After enhancing the rigidity, I test drove 2,000 km for two days, all by myself in Nurburgring, having the bad road surface conditions and many ups and downs. Because of the test, I lost 4kg. (Laugh.) But I could find many shortcomings such as the body rigidity, underbody problems, etc.
While I enhanced the rigidity, springs and shock absorbers and did some readjustments, I tried the 20,000km test for two weeks.
…I took the car to the autobahn (highways in Germany, some have no speed limit), and drove it at full throttle. Then, the car jumped up and down due to the gap on the road conditions between the circuit and the autobahn. Once again, I had to go back for the development of springs and shock absorbers. I did another full-throttle test on the mountain roads in France by over 200km/hr while I tested the drift performance by 180km/hr in the middle of winter in Hokkaido.”
2,000km (1,242 miles) over two days on the Nürburgring is one thing, but an average of 1,428km (887 miles) every day for two weeks staggers the mind, and only serves to highlight Naruse’s pure dedication to Toyota.
(I certainly recommend reading the full transcript — makes me want to track down a first-gen IS.)
[Source: Gazoo Racing]