The family of Lexus has a number of different personalities. There is the slower, wiser LS, the practical and utilitarian RX, the confused middle child the ES, the athletic GS and then there is the hyperactive IS-line. Having recently driven the entire IS line, it is exciting to see how far Lexus has taken the platform. The trims are so diverse that if feels like the offerings of an entire car company. As exciting as the IS bloodline is, the chassis needed more power transplanted in to it and the IS-F did just that but it just went on sale recently!
The crew over at Discount Tire and Falken Tire know a thing or two about putting together a successful drift car. First they had to overcome the inherent power deficiency with the 3.5L V6 in the car and since the car had the Super ECT automatic, it was useless for drifting. So the entire powertrain was removed and re-engineered from the ground up.
The team contacted Hasselgren Engineering to prep them a big displacement, NA motor that would rattle pavement. That came in the form of a 6.7L V8 from the same builders that supply the Rolex 24hr Endurance cars. So you’d be safe to claim that this would be one reliable motor with bulletproof internals lubricated by a dry sump system. The entire engine sits lower and further back than the previous 2JZ motor the car ran and ironically is also lighter. The plenum has been removed and replaced with Kinsler individual throttle bodies. The air is fed through eight individual K&N conical filters and carbon fiber velocity stacks. On each bank are custom Bassani tubular headers feeding into custom stainless exhausts. The entire package is controlled by the MoTec M-880 ECU to extract the most of the package. Matted to a G-Force 4-speed racing tranny, there won’t be any disappointments with breakage on the track. And the driveline got futher reinforcements with an Exedy Triple carbon clutch, Driveshaft Shop Chromoly axles and an OS Giken 2-way LSD.
The drifting gear is also some top shelf equipment that gets incinerated after a handful of runs in this machine. The pros at iForged stepped up and supplied this project with their Aero wheels 18x9.5-inch up front with 18x10.5-inch with some aggressive offsets. Falken of course provided the rubber with piles upon piles of Azenis RT-615 tires to burn. The fronts are 245/40R18 and the rears run a healthy 315/30R18. Project Mu was selected to supply the braking for the project. In the front are Project Mu’s venerable 6-piston system with 355mm calipers and a 4-piston/330mm set in the rear. There is no mistaking the teal hue of these calipers and massive 2-piece rotors or the performance they are capable of.
On the suspension side, some is off the shelf and the balance is all custom. The Falken crew decided to run TEIN CS coilovers for their high degree of adjustability and high durability over uneven surfaces. The also have twin EDFCs linked up to the system to adjust each corner individually. A practice I saw the Japanese drivers doing over 5 years ago when back home barely knew what an EDFC was. Eliminating the roll are some Hotchkis sway bars both front and were along with new urethane bushings pressed into several components.
Being the only IS in Formula D competition, it was certain that sponsors Discount Tire and Falken would get noticed. The IS sedan shell really appears to subtle upgrades until you inspect it in more detail. The car has been fitted with an INGs+1 aero kit and Seibon carbon fiber hood. At the rear of the car an APR GTC carbon fiber win sits atop a carbon fiber trunk also made by Seibon. To lighten the car, there is also a custom carbon fiber vented sunroof.
From the exterior, the IS seems to be one of the more subtle cars in the FD series but pull open a door and that perception quickly changes. The interior is completely gutted and a multi-point Chromoly cage to meet FD-specs has been fabricated by SPD Metal Works. The factory cluster has been ripped out and replaced with a MoTeC Sport LCD dash to relay all the data. A pair of Sparco 5-point harnesses compliment a pair of Sparco racing buckets and a sport wheel. The center dash has been redesigned to accommodate all of the switches, EDFCs and kill switches needed in a competition car.
Sumida’s progress in the car has been forging ahead while they have more then enough power but continue to refine suspension and chassis. Building an IS has been a more challenging road than going for already proven platforms, so the curve has been steep. The podium has eluded Sumida for 2008 but they vow that now the car is ready, they will come out swinging in 2009.
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