Much of the personality of the Lexus IS is a result of testing and development at Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, the company’s newest test track that partially opened in April 2019.
Modeled after the famed German track, Nurburgring, Shimoyama gives Toyota engineers an invaluable tool to put their vehicles through exacting driving conditions.
But it goes deeper than that. Here are five facts about Shimoyama we just had to share.
It’s not even fully complete yet
Shimoyama will eventually consist of three distinct sections. The IS was tested and developed on the central section – the only one that’s open right now – with its winding country road test course. By 2023, Shimoyama’s eastern section will feature a high-speed test course and specialized courses that reproduce road surfaces from around the world. The western section will include vehicle development facilities.
But the part that’s open is awesome
The central test course is 3.3 miles long and features a nearly 250-foot change in elevation, plus plenty of curves, corners and different road types. It opened in 2019, and its strenuous driving environment helped the Lexus IS come to life.
It’s got a great location
Shimoyama is nestled in a mountainous region that straddles Toyota City and Okazaki, about a 30-minute drive from Toyota’s global headquarters. Pretty easy for the boss to get over there.
Environmental consideration was important
Shimoyama’s 1,600-acre expanse is being built with the environment in mind. Around 70 percent of the total site area consists of the original trees and greenery. And Toyota has developed new green spaces throughout. Further, Toyota will work with experts and local governments to conduct environmental conservation initiatives.
It’s one of 20 Toyota R&D locations in the world
You know how we like to say we spend $1 million per hour on research and development? Well, this is part of that. Check out the list of the 20 R&D centers here
. Five are located in the U.S., and among those are all of our friends at TMNA R&D, our sharp-eyed designers at CALTY and our robot-building geniuses at the Toyota Research Institute.
By Dan Nied