Lexus IS Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I've recently obtained a 2002 IS300 and plan on turning it into a track car/ project car for myself and my son in the future. This is my first time doing a build and I have only basic knowledge of building cars. I've done my research, read on the forum, and asked around about some questions I've had about the car. However, there are some I do need some help with. If anyone is able to give some insight, constructive criticism, etc. I'm here to listen. Here is a list of some questions:

What size rims (more so offset) would be optimal with stock fenders?
Is there any DCTs that would fit to the 2jz-ge?
Would it be better to just do a full engine swap with the 2jz-gte instead of changing the internals of the GE?
Should I use a plug-in ecu (if that's what it's called) or get a full standalone?
Do I need a new rear differential?
Best performance exhaust systems?
What structural reinforcements would I possibly have to do?
Any performance body mods I should make or body kits I should look into?
Any common problems that would lesson my ability to push this car hard on a track?

I already plan on doing a brake swap with the LS400 brakes as well as running wider tires for better grip. I also plan on getting better race-suited coilovers with adjustable camber, ride-height, dampening, and preload. I've been looking into getting a roll cage installed as well. Thank you for your time and I look forward to having conversation with you all!
 

·
Registered
2001 Lexus is300 2jzge vvt-i
Joined
·
7 Posts
Sounds like you've got a plan, honestly getting a whole other swap isn't a bad idea unless you're comfortable with doing the rods in the original block that's already there, you might as well and spend the extra money and get some good rods and maybe even pistons while you're at it wouldn't hurt, sleeve it, do some valve tweaking while you're at it and go titanium but stock is ok, bigger cam and cam gears , intake manifold upgrade is must with power steering delete or relocate, biggest tb you can afford, drive by wire (well duh you're going with a easier style intake mani), a good size turbskie , trans cooler maybe depends where you live it's surprisingly helped me ALOT, standalone ECU is a must if doing any of this, stick with the same size wheels but wider of course and lighter, there are some crazy diffs out there, oh and first thing you NEED to do is get all the brace/supports you can along with suspension and handling upgrades , bushings, adjustable balljoints, good quality suspension, gutted, aluminum interior panels, GET RID OF THE ELECTRIC SEATS THEYRE SLOW THEMSELVES AND WEIGH AS MUCH AS I DO NEARLY LOL. but yeah anyways sounds like you're on the right path.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
4,797 Posts
First off. There are several thrads on the forum that cover your questions. So search and read first. You are the only one who knows what you can afford and use. You are the only one who knows how and what level of "track" use you are willing to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like you've got a plan, honestly getting a whole other swap isn't a bad idea unless you're comfortable with doing the rods in the original block that's already there, you might as well and spend the extra money and get some good rods and maybe even pistons while you're at it wouldn't hurt, sleeve it, do some valve tweaking while you're at it and go titanium but stock is ok, bigger cam and cam gears , intake manifold upgrade is must with power steering delete or relocate, biggest tb you can afford, drive by wire (well duh you're going with a easier style intake mani), a good size turbskie , trans cooler maybe depends where you live it's surprisingly helped me ALOT, standalone ECU is a must if doing any of this, stick with the same size wheels but wider of course and lighter, there are some crazy diffs out there, oh and first thing you NEED to do is get all the brace/supports you can along with suspension and handling upgrades , bushings, adjustable balljoints, good quality suspension, gutted, aluminum interior panels, GET RID OF THE ELECTRIC SEATS THEYRE SLOW THEMSELVES AND WEIGH AS MUCH AS I DO NEARLY LOL. but yeah anyways sounds like you're on the right path.
Thank you for the feedback. Why would I need to change to drive by wire? I've watched a few videos of people saying that drive by cable was better for them with this car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,791 Posts
There's a lot you can do......the sky's the limit with unlimited money (which you will need because even though these cars are dirt cheap, building them taps into the supra tax so everything is expensive done the right way). Could you give us previous build examples to kinda compare what you want to get done? Just saying I want to build a track car is very generic....kinda like saying i want to build a fast car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
556 Posts
Drive by wire/cable same difference lol
When someone refers to a "cable" throttle, they usually mean the throttle is mechanically actuated via the pedal.

When someone refers to a "wire" throttle, they usually mean the throttle is electrically actuated by a computer.

Two very different concepts.

To the OP:

What kind of tracking do you intend to do? If it's just open track days, I'd just get the car in good mechanically working order and let it rip...

It's insanely fun to beat the piss out of a car and take it to the limit where there is zero concern of the police busting you. Even cars with pathetic performance are really fun when driven that way; and a LOT safer. A stock IS300 driven at 9/10 is going a lot slower than a Z06 at 9/10 - and thus a mistake/wreck takes place at a much lower speed, not to mention less likely to begin with.
 

·
Registered
2002 Lexus IS300
Joined
·
1,767 Posts
I think the main thing you should focus on as mentioned, is what level of “track” racing do you plan to do with the car? That will determine in what direction you should go and how far you should with modifications before the car could become disqualified for certain classes or bump you up into faster classes where it won’t be competitive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There's a lot you can do......the sky's the limit with unlimited money (which you will need because even though these cars are dirt cheap, building them taps into the supra tax so everything is expensive done the right way). Could you give us previous build examples to kinda compare what you want to get done? Just saying I want to build a track car is very generic....kinda like saying i want to build a fast car.
I think the main thing you should focus on as mentioned, is what level of “track” racing do you plan to do with the car? That will determine in what direction you should go and how far you should with modifications before the car could become disqualified for certain classes or bump you up into faster classes where it won’t be competitive.
When someone refers to a "cable" throttle, they usually mean the throttle is mechanically actuated via the pedal.

When someone refers to a "wire" throttle, they usually mean the throttle is electrically actuated by a computer.

Two very different concepts.

To the OP:

What kind of tracking do you intend to do? If it's just open track days, I'd just get the car in good mechanically working order and let it rip...

It's insanely fun to beat the piss out of a car and take it to the limit where there is zero concern of the police busting you. Even cars with pathetic performance are really fun when driven that way; and a LOT safer. A stock IS300 driven at 9/10 is going a lot slower than a Z06 at 9/10 - and thus a mistake/wreck takes place at a much lower speed, not to mention less likely to begin with.
I haven't researched a specific "track" build that has already been done I've just had some ideas in my mind on how I want the car to be based. I my end all goal is to be able to take the car to open time attack trails and be able to compete with top cars or maybe get into some open racing events. I also want to be able to have a project for my son and I to work on and also have something he can learn to drive on the road and track. Since I'm am also just starting to learn about building cars myself, I understand I won't be able to make the best performance type build and be expected to handle all that I do to the car along with be able to understand what to do if something goes wrong. However, I don't just want an "ordinary" is300. I want to be able to push harder and have a better build rather than slapping standard things on. I hope that made my build a little more clear.
 

·
Registered
2001 Lexus is300 2jzge vvt-i
Joined
·
7 Posts
When someone refers to a "cable" throttle, they usually mean the throttle is mechanically actuated via the pedal.

When someone refers to a "wire" throttle, they usually mean the throttle is electrically actuated by a computer.

Two very different concepts.

To the OP:

What kind of tracking do you intend to do? If it's just open track days, I'd just get the car in good mechanically working order and let it rip...

It's insanely fun to beat the piss out of a car and take it to the limit where there is zero concern of the police busting you. Even cars with pathetic performance are really fun when driven that way; and a LOT safer. A stock IS300 driven at 9/10 is going a lot slower than a Z06 at 9/10 - and thus a mistake/wreck takes place at a much lower speed, not to mention less likely to begin with.
Yeah I meant cable, my bad just all those little plastic pieces that you stick in the throttle control have me saying drive by wire lmao
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
556 Posts
my end all goal is to be able to take the car to open time attack trails and be able to compete with top cars or maybe get into some open racing events.
However, I don't just want an "ordinary" is300. I want to be able to push harder and have a better build rather than slapping standard things on. I hope that made my build a little more clear.
In that case, buy this rolling chassis: Rolling Chassis Parts car/ Race car? (2002 MT IS300 WITH...

Then buy an LSx "dropout" powertrain from a Camaro or similar, complete with engine, trans, accessories, ecu

This will be much lighter than a turbo 2J, and the torque delivery of the bigger V8 will be much easier to use for novice drivers.

You mentioned LS400 brakes. Those are a decent upgrade, but for a track car that can "compete with top cars" you'll need MUCH more.

You also mentioned "chassis reinforcement". You should be looking at installing a cage.
 

·
Registered
2002 Lexus IS300
Joined
·
1,767 Posts
Above idea isn’t a bad one. Of course the powertrain choice is up to you. However even in those races you mention, they have certain classes. It would be best to pick a class you would like to compete in first and then build the car to suit. So that you can be competitive.

You can keep the car relatively stock and be competitive in a slower class. Or you can build it to suit a faster class.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,791 Posts
Honestly....scrap the IS and do what i did, get something more track focused. I bought into the mr2 spyder but you can get miatas, s2000s, even honda fits do incredibly well in time attack. Now if you just want a too jay zee y0 then I can see why the IS but then what is the real intent here? If anything I think what Hodgdon Extreme said above sounds like a good IS track build so consider that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
556 Posts
Glad to see some agreement, but I think most people would be WAY better off buying a turn-key track car. Most people fixate on the end goal of having a racecar to drive. That's fine, but it's often not enough to motivate them through the entire build process - which leaves you with an unfinished project, a pile of parts, and wasted money.

For less money than would be spent building an IS300 track car, you can buy a used spec Miata, a Formula Ford or another racecar - turn key, ready to play with. These will be built to compete in actual races, so if you get to the point where you want to race head-to-head, you've already got a machine built to do it.

And make no mistake - you'll still get PLENTY of opportunity to spin wrenches and tinker with one of these... Racecars break all the time.
 

·
Registered
2002 Lexus IS300
Joined
·
1,767 Posts
If it were me and I knew what class I was going to be in. Since you already have the car. This was mentioned 👆🏽 above. Just get it ready to race like it is. Mechanically sound. Get some better suspension and some good tires and brakes and just leave the engine alone for now.

SCCA T4 class would be great for that car or even the T3 class.I personally think a stripped purpose built IS300 would have the capability to run with some fast competition. They do handle pretty well for being a sedan. They are a little heavy for the power they put out but a “lighter” car would be pretty fun to drive.

I raced a Lot of T2 with my 240sx and I was VERY competitive with the car in that class. There are C5 vetted and some C6 vettes. Lots of M3 and 1LE SS Camaros. But the courses were pretty tight and my car is light and even though it was underpowered (~150hp) it did fantastic! I usually averaged 4-5th in a pack of 20 or so cars like mentioned above. I have won a few meets as well.
 

·
Registered
2005 Lexus IS300
Joined
·
196 Posts
here is how you get a good race car. drive it stock at events for a year and then start modding. bet you'll be the fastest in your class by the time you start modding.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top