Quick Interviews with Lexus LFA Chief Engineer Tanahashi & IS F Chief Engineer Yaguchi

Lexus LFA & IS F CCS-R

While in Japan for the Tokyo Motor Show, I had a chance to meet Lexus LFA chief engineer Tanahashi Haruhiko & IS F chief engineer at the Fuji Speedway — time was limited with so many journalists in attendance, but I did get a chance to ask each of them a couple questions.

Here are both conversations, conducted through a Japanese translator.

A Conversation with LFA Chief Engineer Tanahashi Haruhiko

Lexus LFA Interview with Tanahashi Haruhiko

Kevin Watts: When you started the LFA project, did you know that it was begin a transformation of the Lexus brand?

Tanahashi-san: Well, I didn’t know for sure, but I had the strong belief that through the LFA, I could strengthen the Lexus brand.

What legacy does the LFA leave, and what does it mean to Lexus?

Well, I think that answer will be given by history, don’t you think? It’s not really something I should answer.

How does it feel for the LFA to be complete, to no longer be sold?

Of course, I’m a little bit sad — I miss it. That’s 50%, the other 50% is that I have this sense of accomplishment.

What’s next for the chief engineer of the LFA?

Continuously, going forward, I will be engaged in LFA.

A Conversation with IS F Chief Engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi

Lexus IS F CCS-R

Kevin Watts: What has driven you to continually improve the IS F over its lifecycle?

Yaguchi-san: Mostly because I like the IS F, but I also love watching the customers enjoy driving this car.

You started the IS F as a skunkworks project, working on the car in your own time. All these years later, it’s now one of the flagship performance models for Lexus — how does that feel?

Now that we have the F SPORT models, and we have more and more cars that customers enjoy driving, and that’s a good thing.

Have to ask, will there be a next generation IS F?

Just a little more patience, we’ll have something to talk about in the near future.

Special thanks to both Tanahashi-san & Yaguchi-san for taking the time for my questions, and to Lexus USA for inviting me to attend this special event at Fuji Speedway.


  1. Can't get enough of this brand
  2. ????? What does Tanahashi-san mean, "I will be engaged to LFA"? BD
    • MD

      "Engaged IN LFA". What he means, he will continuously be engaged in all aspects of the LFA. I don't think he means there is another LFA in the works.
    • I asked for clarification, but he wouldn't elaborate. It's difficult with a translator, to be honest.
    • Well,TMC has always been fantastically vague about future product plans,so it's hard to know what he means,exactly. Could be that he'll be involved in making LFA tech and know-how available to other models.
    • I'm assuming you meant to LFA ... I really can't see Lexus ignoring the demand that the world has/had for the LFA. I strongly believe that they are working on the next one. They're designing it for sure. The LFA changed Lexus and the perception everyone had of them, they can't just ignore that and hope that the flame will continue to burn, they need a fire. They brought in the IS F, GS F to come, RC F etc ... and one flagship model to rule them all. Just like LS is their luxury, LF is their racing. I can bet money that they're working on the next one.
    • MD

      I really hope it is only the LFA AD-X, which was seen lapping Nurburgring and none of that rumored BMW cr*p media has been sensationalizing.
    • I wouldn't rule it out; BMW doesn't have a super car. :) However, can you imagine the excitement if Lexus were to announces an LFA II. It's going to dominate all the car forums. People that know and love cars want to see how Lexus can outdo the last LFA. It's not going to be the same car with a few subtle changes, it's going to be a screaming fire breathing dragon.
    • MD

      Yeah, but it would make the LFA 1 look even better, if it came with that cr*ppy BMW V8 TT that sounds so bad that BMW has to put synthesized sounds through the stereo speakers to put some sound in the cabin.
    • Exactly, BMW doesn't have a super - Lexus first go was right up there with the best. Exactly why would you want to involve BMW? What would they bring to the table? Speakers that can play engine noise?
    • lol .. i tried to correct BD and repeated what he said. I meant "in LFA"
    • um, if you read he said ''to LFA''
    • I agree with you on this topic. The LFA has made a monumental impact on Global perception of LEXUS. The future LFA will come in one form or fashion, Possibly more powerful and aggressive.
  3. I love your last question with Yaguchi-san got a gut feeling that the second generation ISF is on its way best believe
  4. All is I hope is that if they are doing a LFA 2 the car delivers the same driving performance the torque is bumped up into that 450 ft lbs area and the HP number starts with a 6.
    • MD

      You have never driven the LFA. LFA engine was perfection. People who have driven the LFA say it is extremely deceptively powerful at any rpm in the right gear because the engine has no inertia and it revs so fast. Either you pick 9500 rpm or bottom end torque monster (A Viper for example). LFA was all about power and high revs. If LFA gets 600 HP, the torque will automatically bump to 400 ft-lbs@6800 rpm. And everyone knows LFA whooped the Viper multiple times in Top Gear episode. The devil is in the details. Lexus LFA was the highest-revving engine ever produced so the engine was designed for maximum revs and revving as fast as possible. Higher revs require smaller cylinders and smaller cylinders means less torque, but a lot more revs and hence more power/torque at high rpms. It is also geared like a formula one racing car.
    • I agree. You either get to choose higher revs or you get to pick torque. You cannot have both. Tanahashi had said in multiple interviews, Lexus LFA was designed with the target of 10,000 rpm to strengthen its F1 racing car roots. Lexus did not give him approval for a 10,000 rpm limit so they settled for 9500 rpm. I do agree if LFA gets more power that would be great, but not without sacrificing its signature 9500 rpm revs.
    • LFA dyno'ed at 515 wheel HP by insideline, which technically was around 590 - 600 HP. LFA was most likely underrated. LFA's biggest problem was its tires. The tires were not sticky enough to handle its enormous amount of power off the line. But once it started going, it was extremely fast 60 - 165 mph came in only 16.6 seconds for LFA. It was way faster than Nissan GTR past 60 mph.
    • MD

      For reference, LFA and Maclaren MP4 dyno'ed exactly the same numbers on the same insideline dyno 515 wheel HP. LFA was rated at 553 HP and Mclaren was rated at 590 HP. LFA just needs velcro like sticky tires and it will easily pull 3.2 - 3.3 seconds 0-60 mph.
    • Lexus LFA was already making 600 HP. Insideline and multiple private owners have dyno'ed LFA in the 490 - 515 wheel HP. Insideline declared LFA "underrated". The only issue was 0 - 60 mph time, which was because it did not have enough traction due to the sloppy tires and a modest launch control that cut back power as soon as it sensed loss of traction. LFA was way quicker than most other cars after 60 mph despite making so much more downforce (more downforce means more drag, which is detrimental for straight line speed). If you looked at 60 - 130 mph of the 2013 Nissan GTR and looked at the 60 - 130 mph of the LFA, LFA was A LOT faster despite all that downforce.
    • I don't put much credence in RWHP numbers. If Lexus had mentioned that this car was under done in the power numbers that would give me more belief in that fact.
    • Underrating never warrants an official recognition from the brand. 335 for example is a well known fact is underrated, but BMW never acknowledged it. Lexus underrated the LFA to make sure the downforce does not affect the acceleration and response from any rolling speed. LFA makes 140 pounds of downforce at 125 mph, which is one of the highest in any car, but the 60 - 165 mph of LFA are blistering fast at only 16.6 seconds. The only weak spot is the 0 - 60 mph for the LFA due to RWD and tire traction issues (and that the suspension is designed for track racing and not suitable for drag racing)
  5. I can't wait to own a LFA.
  6. Its all speculation anyway I personally don't think there will be an LFA 2 its wishful thinking on my part.I knew speculating with numbers would raise a response.I'm well aware of the LFA's down falls with tires. I'm also glad Lexus/Toyota didn't get involved in the HP/Arms race that every other car manufacturer seems to be on and personally delivered a driving experience that a consumer can enjoy less all the electronics.
    • Agreed. Motor Trend just did a new video on the LFA with Justin Bell driving and drifting the LFA through Button Willow. Absolutely gorgeous video. You should check it out.
    • Seen it liked it. But my favourites are any hot laps Iida does or any GR LFA laps of the Ring,as I do a bit of the private track-day stuff myself in my Supra.
  7. CI

    Tanahashi san needs to see this 10 min LFA memorable moments video. I am sure he will feel even more proud of his creation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg7WPzhBlE4