- Long-term Lexus collaboration with world champion air race pilot Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya enables exchange of automotive and aeronautical innovations
- Partnership has already produced advances in aerodynamics and inspired a new rear carbon fibre wing for the Lexus LC flagship coupe
- New component available on the limited edition LC Coupe Black Inspiration
Since 2016, Lexus has been reaching for the skies in a unique collaboration with Japanese champion race pilot Yoshihide Muroya, winner in 2017 of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship series. In this rare cross-industry partnership, the luxury carmaker benefits from aeronautic technology while Muroya leverages Lexus’s automotive breakthroughs. One of the tangible results of this collaboration is a new, aviation-inspired rear wing for the 2022 LC flagship coupe.
Lexus and Muroya have worked together to develop championship-winning aircraft. The Lexus design and engineering team has helped develop flight technologies in areas such as aerodynamics, cooling and ergonomics.
The collaboration has produced notable innovations, including a control column grip for Muroya’s cockpit that incorporates Lexus’s sensitivity technologies and a new turning manoeuvre for the aircraft based on aerodynamic data provided by Lexus.
Muroya commented: “It was with strong support from Lexus that I became the first Japanese Red Bull Air Race champion back in 2017 and our collaboration continues to deliver real mutual benefit.”
New carbon fibre wing
For 2022, the Lexus LC flagship coupe sports a new carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) rear wing, developed together with Muroya. This lightweight, highly rigid and sleek wing maximises aerodynamic performance and makes for more agile driving. The design draws its inspiration from the wing-tip vortices that influence the design of winglets on jet aircraft.
Yoshiaki Ito, a Lexus takumi master driver, said: “The winglets sharpened the LC’s handling, but without using drag-creating downforce, resulting in better performance without sacrifices.”
Aerodynamic research and development
During demanding test flights with Yoshihide Muroya, Lexus engineers analysed his plane’s drag-reducing winglets and the associated vortices that commonly cause problems. In the Lexus wind tunnel, engineers found that vehicle dynamics on the ground could be improved by turning the wing upside down and adding winglets.
Once computer and wind tunnel tests were completed, Lexus’s elite team of designers, engineers and takumi artisans set to work milling an aluminium prototype, which, like Muroya’s race plane wings, was later produced in carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). This material is laminated in carbon-fibre and epoxy resin and has a hollow core; after baking in an autoclave, its woven texture is visible through a lacquered finish. Long and lean, the LC’s new wing is nearly two metres wide, yet very durable and warp resistant.
The new wing spoiler is available exclusively on the LC Coupe Black Inspiration limited edition model. The car is being assembled at Lexus Motomachi factory, home to the famousthe LFA supercar.
Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroy
Yoshihide “Yoshi” Muroya is a Japanese aerobatic and race pilot who competes in high-profile events such as the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. He started flight training in a glider in 1991 and went to the United States to earn his pilot’s licence by the age of 20. At the same time, he continued glider training in Japan and learned long-distance flight techniques in Australia. In 2009, Muroya was the first Asian pilot to participate in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship and he went on to become the 2017 World Champion. To date he has taken part in around 170 air shows without a single incident.
The LC Coupe Black Inspiration is available in exclusive Graphite Black paint finish with the equipment specification from the current LC Sport Plus Pack, adding 10-way power-adjustable front seats upholstered in fine-quality semi-aniline leather; a bespoke 13-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound system, head-up display and a card key. Exterior features include 21-inch five-spoke forged alloy wheels, together with the Sport Plus Pack-specified carbon fibre roof and scuff plates and is available with both the full hybrid electric LC 500h and the V8-powered LC 500 powertrains.