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5212003113013.jpg In the March 13-14 episode of <B><I>Car and Driver Television</I></B>, the editors assembled a quintet of what they felt were the most competitive cars in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car class and took them to the new Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Among the five was the Team FBR/Trans Sport Racing Lexus IS300.<P>

This is what <B><I>Car and Driver</I></B> had to say about this racing IS300:<P>

The Lexus bears the only engine in the series that’s been downsized from the street version. Although almost every other rule is flexible, the one limiting maximum displacement to 2.8 liters is not, so Toyota destroked the IS300’s 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder to comply.<P>

That engine is produced and developed by Toyota Racing Development (TRD) of Tustin, California, and in a way similar to what Mazda does, Toyota supports Team FBR with engine development and technical help.<P>

On paper, the Lexus is a killer. Its unequal-length control-arm suspension keeps the tires squarely on the pavement and is easier to adjust than the front struts on all the other cars. It boasts rear-wheel drive and good weight distribution. The rules even allow the team to swap the IS300’s stock five-speed manual transmission for the stronger six-speed box from a Toyota Supra.<P>

It does, however, have to carry the most weight of this pack—2800 pounds. FBR is the only team racing the Lexus and has not won a race to date, but it came close at Sebring with a third-place finish.<<P>

“We’re hoping the SCCA lets us remove 50 pounds from the car,” says team owner Tim Pappas, 29. A commercial real-estate developer from Boston, Pappas jumped into World Challenge in 2001 and embraced the shifting-rules format. “It’s the closest road racing in the country right now.”<P>

We drove the Lexus after a stint in the Protegé and immediately felt more comfortable. Although the Protegé felt stable enough, the Lexus was positively screwed to the ground. There was a much-appreciated heft to everything—the steering, the brakes, the shifter, even the throttle.<P>

But you could sense the extra weight. TRD says the engine makes 274 horsepower, which gives the Lexus a power-to-weight ratio of 10.2 pounds per horsepower, about four percent poorer than the Protegé’s. The Lexus, however, felt easier to drive, as if you could effortlessly drive the identical line lap after lap.<P>

For more information on the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car class, the other four cars reviewed by <I>Car and Driver</I>, and the Barber Motorsports Park, just click <A HREF="http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=4&article_id=6696&page_number=1">here</A>.
 

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That article was posted last year.....?
Why is it on the front page now?
 

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Destroking baby....that means the combustion chamber is now well undersquare. This sucker probably has the powerband of a Honda now and revs like a mother. 8500 rpm out of a 2JZ...woot.
 
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