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165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

MY.IS forum has been greatly helpful building our race cars, so I would like to share our project. :)
We are located in Korea, and my friend and I have been building two IS200 race cars since Nov. of 2011.

Since Lexus IS200 were one of very few FR import car that were imported officially thru Lexus Korea since late 90s, it was one of cheapest FR cars you can buy in Korea market.
(For those who wonder, RHD JDM Altezza was NOT officially imported.)
As you know IS200 is pretty sad car with 155hp I-6 & 4-speed auto. :(

So we planned to swap the 3S-GE engine with 6-sp. :cool:
Due to displacement regulation of the league we are attending, we didn't bother with 2JZ.
2JZ would also increase the running cost this car in our country much higher due to its displacement.

Overall, we are building amateur club race car that won't break the bank.
Also car has to be driven on the street time to time.
(mostly on the way to the track)

Here are specs of the car we planned.
We are aiming total of US$35k for each to buy/build the complete race car.
(The budget is extremely subjective since we are located in Korea)

-. 3S-GE w/6-sp swap.
-. 6-point welded roll-cage.
-. Stripped Interior.
-. The car has to be "street-able" since we have to drive the car to track. Has to retain AC/Audio.
-. FIA approved front seats.
-. FIA approved 6-point harness
-. Wheel/Suspension work to be run competitive time in our class.
-. Reliable/low-cost running race car for at least next 5 years. (Maybe I will buy used FT86 later. ;) )
-. Tires : Radials (no slicks). Our class has spec tires, so we have to run Hankook R-S3 or TD.

I will be posting/updating the thread periodically as we proceed. :)

1. Buying IS200 from used car market.
It only costed us about US$5,000 to pick up MY01 IS200 with 100k miles on it.
It's extremely low price considering high price import car market that Korea has. (for example, brand new GS350 goes about $65k+)
Both cars(Grey-mine, White-friend's) were extremely clean condition.
Front end had some minor accident.(no frame damage) which is expect-able for 10+ year old car.
White one had been riced out by previous owner with LED tails and replica wheels. lol

2. Take it to track.
I know it's lame to take IS200 to track, but I had a chance to take it to track the day I bought the car. lol
I was also very fortunate to run the car in F1 track in Korea.
I didn't have a chance to take good pictures of the IS200 running at track.
This is only one picture I got right before I get into track.

Although the IS200 was light and nimble around the corners, it was seriously lacking power esp with 4-speed auto.
Also the steering pump was over-heat very quickly. 1-2 laps were enough to make PS whine.

3. Planning...
As I expected, engine swap with some diet on weight will make this car very competent in our class.(2.0L NA, 1150kg, No-VTEC)

I have started to order goodies such as engine, suspension, etc from US, Japan, Italy, HK, Taiwan, UK. :)
While parts are being delivered, I have planned to start taking interior apart for roll-cage work.

The 1st race is being held on March 11th.
So the car needs to run by end of Feb.

Here are last pictures of the car in "stock form" lol


165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
4. Tint Removal.

Both cars already had tint on window.
We heated the glass with heat gun for easy removal.
It's critical to do right temperature, or you will melt the film.

Have to very careful on rear back window, because you can easily damage the heat wires while removing 10 years old film with adhesives.

Nice and clean, tint-film free glass!


4,504 Posts
Can't wait for more.....keep it up!

Those are some of the ugliest stock wheels! :p

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Part 5 : Removing interior

Now time for removing interiors of both cars.
We are going to put some interior back(Dash and etc) after welding the roll cage in, so we need it keep the parts well.

Obviously, it seems like white car's driver was female.(many long hairs!! eww)
The grey car driver had kids. (small toys, stickers. lol)

Dis-assemble time!! ;)

Since we moved the sunroof, we needed temporarily solution until we get it sealed. :cool:

Now it's time for grey car.
We only had time/space to work 1-2 hours per day, so we had to work few days to dis-assemble interior + moving parts to storage.

Yup it's Toyota, you only need 10mm/12mm to loosen most parts! :)
We only used very basic tools to remove the interior.

We put little more effort on making temporarily sunroof cover. lol

Dash is off!!

We kept track of the weight of each parts.(kinda gave up mid-way. lol)
IS200/300 does have much sound deadening due to it's "luxury" position of the brand.
It was not hard task to saving much weight from simply removing interior.
I would guess at least 200lb+ saving for what we have done so far.
But there are still tons of parts we can remove.

We used the traditional "dry-ice" method to remove the floor sound deadening material. :)

Hey, we gotta feel the weight savings of these 155hp IS right?
Took out for a drive and WHOAA!! what a difference!!
Can't wait until we put 3S-GE in!


165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Part 6 : ROLL-CAGE!!!

Yup, now it's time for the roll-cage.
Since we are NOT professional welder/bender....I got help from my friends.
We moved our cars to my friend's race shop for roll cage.

Since these cars will be running spec radial tires(Hankook R-S3) + running time trial, we only needs minimal roll-cage to pass the regulation.
BUT we do take seriously on minimalism, meaning even if it is minimal 6-point, it has to be welded correctly.
So there won't be crazy roll-cage which adds much weight. :)

Time to work!!

Used the paper to make the roll-cage support base mount template.
It's critical to make base mount rigid to dissipate the stress of the rollcage thru the chassis.
Not only the rollcage protects the driver,but it also adds much rigidity to chassis.

Now time for white car. :)

Since all the base mounts are done, now time for some piping!
We wanted to put the A-pillar piping more towards to front, but we wanted to keep the wiring harness + steering column in stock position(without modifying it).
We had to make compromise to current position.

Main piping are finished! :)
Now I started to see some "race-ness" of the car.

Some pictures from outside.
It's nice to see some roll cages thru the window. :)

Now we moved back to the shop for engine swap + etc.

We also added extra two bars(rear strut bar & harness bar)

After we paint the roll cage and interior, we will do engine swap.
For those who have not seen 2.0L I-6 engine look like...
Here is the 155hp hopeless 1GE-FE engine!

The engine room will look like this soon...(my friend's JDM Altezza) :cool:

Begging for new engine. ;) I will update more this week!
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Reactions: joel1212

799 Posts
excited to see progress, *subscribed

interesting things i noticed, you have usdm bumpers with jdm fender and headlights, interesting combo. so these are official exported models to korea? would love to visit korea some day.

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
interesting things i noticed, you have usdm bumpers with jdm fender and headlights, interesting combo. so these are official exported models to korea?

Yup, these are officially imported by Lexus Korea. :)
It does have weird configurations. Going to put JDM bumpers later on.

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Part 7 : Interior painting!

Because new roof from Lexus Korea was EXTREMELY expansive($1,000+), we had to seal off the roof cutout.

Pictures of the roof before painting.

Results came out very GOOD!! Don't have good pictures at this moment.

Roll cages/roof were painted by bodyshop.
Here are few pictures. ;)

Time to trim the dash and fit into the car. :)
Requires patient to make it fit like glove.

Whoa!! dash does make huge difference.
Now it feels like "a car" now. :bigSmile:

Now we cleaned the floor and paint it to the body color.
White car was harder to make it clean because the paint was very light. :pissed:

Here is the grey car after painting the floor.
The grey car(mine) came out much cleaner. :)

Also cleaned and re-sealed with under-coating where burn marks from the roll-cage welding.

It's snowing outside when we leave the shop.
It was loooong day. Now time for dropping stock engine. :cool:


165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Part 8 : Removing stock engine(1G-FE)!!

3S-GE is already at the port, going thru the customs.
Now, it's time to remove stock engine and auto transmission. :)

Disconnect batt.

Remove ECU harness

Remove all the under panels.

Drain all the lubricants & coolants.

Remove stock exhaust.

Remove A/T propeller shaft

Stock TB.

Notice the brake ducting on the front under cover! :)

Engine coming off along with subframe.

Bye-bye 1G-FE!!!

Empty engine bay! :thumbup: Easy part is done. Now time to put 3S-GE!


964 Posts
forgive me for asking but what does "club racer" mean?
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