There’s a lot of emphasis on what’s new and what’s hot in the Automotive industry. But rarely do people take the time to research the history and experience of companies. To simplify this researching, I’m starting a new article on the history of Japanese companies. This week we begin with Laile Inc., the umbrella company for BeatRush Japan.
President and founder Matsumoto sama opened “Car Shop Matsumoto” in the Kanagawa prefecture of Yokohama, Japan. As an avid rally driver himself, the shop soon gained notoriety in all of Japan earning the nickname “Yokohama Rally House.” At the time the company did not manufacture any products, instead they were well know for their custom roll cages, custom body reinforcement, and most notably… their mud guards (sounds funny but in Rally Racing a cars’ Mud-Guards are one of the most indispensable items on the car). The shop was so well known that it sometimes served as the unofficial Rally HQ in Yokohama and at times boasting an impressive 300 members, serving as a base of operations for major Rally competitions near Yokohama.
Seeing a need for Rally and Dirt Trial specific products, Car Shop Matsumoto launched ARPSport. It served as a brand name for the services they already offered; they focusing on two factors: safety of the driver and vehicle durability. The first items they started mass producing were parts such as underpanels, mud-guards, interior floor panels, etc.
At the time, Rally computers were expensive, causing many co-pilots to perform all calculations manually with the use of a hand-held calculators (for those who don’t know the co-pilot must constantly give the driver instructions on the course in addition they had to manually time and record data on the cars performance in the track). Seizing the opportunity, Car Shop Matsumoto released RC-8085, an on-board computer to free up the co-pilot. RC-8085 performed most major functions that other Rally CPU’s performed at the time, while cutting prices by almost 50%. It was widely accepted by Rally drivers and served as a stepping stone for ARPSport into Rally Computing, proving that a shop could compete among well established computing companies.
In order to provide affordable products without sacrificing safety and quality, the company decided to focus directly on product development and manufacture. In the restructuring process Car Shop Matsumoto was closed, but Laile Corporation (Laile was derived from the French word l’aile meaning “of the wing,” to Matsumoto sama it meant “the wings that will fly into the limitless blue sky”) was created to head the planning, development, manufacture, and sale of motorsport parts. At the same time high precision machines were purchased to take on the new image of the company. These new machines ensured precision in manufacturing, enabling better products and in-house production. Laile boasts that 90% of the process (planning, development, testing, and production) for each part is done in-house, basically the only aspect that is not done in-house is the production of the aluminum used.
Following the tradition of the RC-8085, Laile released the RC-Nono (it was actually the RC-8089 but they decided to drop the number and use “nono” which is Italian for ninth). Once again the product was highly accepted, this time not for its price, but for its accuracy and portability.
Laile Japan introduces BeatRush into the Japanese market. Their intent was to apply their rally knowledge for street applications, this basically meant the modification of many parts already in productions. A common example is the underpanel, which was in production prior to the introduction of BeatRush but was intended to keep the engine bay safe from major debris in Rally competition; BeatRush took this product and maintained the same idea but added air vents to allow engine heat dissipation.
Team Laile decides to competes in the FIA World Rally Championship in New Zealand. Equipped with their decked out Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution II, driven by Kataoka Yoshihiro (at the time an employee at Laile he later became a full time WRC driver) and their trusty RC-Nono, Team Laile fought hard but finished 8th in their class (16th overall, out of 78 teams).
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While they returned to Japan a little disheartened, they were still able to boast pretty good ranking for an underdog team’s first time competing in the WRC competing against large companies like Subaru World Rally Team, Mitsubishi Ralliart Team, and Toyota Castrol Team.
Having taken a short break from major competition, Laile decided to aim its resources towards the All Japan Gymkhana Championship. Therefore as of this point Laile designed and developed BeatRush products specifically intended for Gymkhana competition. Within 2 years they were able to rank 6th in the A-4 class with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI. Which is quite an impressive feat, both from Team Laile but mostly for BeatRush products, giving concrete evidence that the products perform as intended.
Heading into the age of Internet, Laile Corporation caught the web bug and opened up their online store.
LAILE ONLINE SHOP
The WRC is held in Hokkaido, Japan… This leads Laile to team up with Osamu Factory to compete in the WRC Japanese Leg. They aren’t too fortunate this time around, but ever since then, they continue to participate in the WRC Japanese Leg.
Laile Japan is contacted by Kami Speed in Orlando, FL to begin selling Beatrush products in the U.S.