• Lexus to provide technical advisors and expertise to support Muroya’s bid for victory in first Air Race World Championship Series in 2022
  • Agreement launches a new joint team, Lexus/Pathfinder Air Racing
  • Relationship will further develop crossover technology opportunities between the automotive and aeronautical fields, targeting higher environmental performance
  • Lexus’ sponsorship of Muroya since 2016 has already produced examples of shared technology development, including the use of aircraft aerodynamic analysis to produce a new carbon fibre rear wing for the LC coupe

Lexus is taking its advanced technologies into the skies in a new partnership with aerial team Pathfinder and race pilot Yoshihide Muroya. The partnership agreement, announced today, targets winning the first Air Race World Championship series – The Air Race – which will take place next year.

The launch of The Air Race has helped spur the formation of a new joint race team, Lexus/Pathfinder Air Racing. With the principal aim of winning races, Lexus and Pathfinder will work together to accelerate the development of competition aircraft using technologies, expertise and experience from both sides. Lexus will support the effort with technical advisors to help develop and verify technologies in areas such as aerodynamics, cooling and ergonomics. It will also work to build a strong team structure to help Muroya’s bid for victory.

Muroya commented: “With the strong support of Lexus, I will strive to become the first champion in the new Air Race. I believe that an exciting story will emerge as fans and team come together as one.”

Koji Sato, Lexus International Chief Branding Officer, said: “Lexus will take on the challenge of an exciting air race together with Muroya, a world-class athlete. With the excitement and joy that motorsports bring and the gratitude that we learn from athletes as our inspiration, we will tackle the goal of Lexus Brand Holder Akio Toyoda to create a better car based on motorsports, from a different perspective.”

Working on the principle that “gruelling air races train people and train technology,” Lexus and Muroya will use experience gained through their partnership to improve their activities’ impact on society and the environment. For Lexus, involvement with the team will help it develop cars with ever-better environmental performance, helping it progress towards the goal of carbon neutrality. Focus areas will include aerodynamics, cooling and weight reduction.

In addition to his air racing, Muroya will continue to develop new talent that can help bring forward next-generation mobility. He also plans to develop a new airfield for testing, in co-operation with Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. Working with local businesses, he will promote the development of carbon-neutral aircraft, initially by giving educational support in light-sports aircraft (LSA) manufacturing techniques. Lexus and Pathfinder will both work to explore new possibilities in the fields of both automobiles and aircraft.

Lexus has supported Muroya, a world-renowned competition flier based in Japan, since 2016, sharing his inspirational “never give up” approach. In 2017 the sponsorship enabled the founding a new Technology Exchange Group, through which Lexus and Muroya have been able explore how new automotive and aeronautical technologies might be usefully shared.

This has produced notable innovations, including the development of a control column grip for Muroya’s cockpit that incorporates Lexus’ sensitivity technologies and a new turning manoeuvre for his aircraft based on aerodynamic analysis developed from Lexus’ vehicle testing data. In turn, this year has seen Lexus produce a new carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) spoiler using aerodynamic know-how from aircraft design. The new unit has been adopted for use on the Lexus LC flagship coupe and will be introduced in Europe in 2022.