The Lexus IS is a series of entry-level luxury car sold by Lexus since 1998 under Toyota Motor Corporation. The IS was slotted just below the ES/GS in the Lexus lineup. It was also originally sold under the Toyota Altezza nameplate in Japan. The IS stands for Intelligent Sport whilst the Altezza means “highness” in Italian. Initially produced as a direct competitor to the luxury sports sedans of the leading European luxury marques, the Toyota Altezza/Lexus IS was engineered by the same man that was responsible for the AE86 and the Toyota Supra.
The chassis came equipped with either the 2.0L 1G-FE in the IS200 variant or the 2.0L 3S-GE Beams in the RS200 and also the tamer version of the 2JZ in the IS300 depending on the import market. All engines came with a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional auto package. The car has always been built to accomplish one mission, to go head-to-head with the Bavarian boys, more specifically the BMW E46.
The owner of this wide body Snow White is none other than Zebedee Tay. (the same owner of one immaculate Integra DC2 R that we featured earlier click here.) The comfort of a 4-door JDM rear wheel drive sport car was the main reason why Zeb was attracted to the Toyota Altezza. Not to mention that the car came with a manual 6 speed rev-happy 3S-GE Yamaha Beams engine that is capable of pulling 210ps at 8000rpm.
Snow White (Zeb named her this) was never always a steroid bulked princess. There was a time when she was simple and clean. When Zeb first got her, he did not do much to her. He installed an E-manage piggyback, (which later he found out that it does not suit the Altezza) got it tuned and hit the track. On her maiden voyage to Sepang, Snow White was only equipped with stock suspensions, no camber settings and with balding old street tyres.
Even so, Zeb had a blast on the tracks and managed a 2.56 on his 1st outing. So happened, William Chong of Riyoz Racing was at the tracks that day. With a little pointer to Zeb’s driving, he managed to shave 4 seconds off to 2.52. With just that one outing, the track bug has bitten Zeb hard. From that day onwards, there was no turning back. This was the beginning of a long journey of transformation for Snow White.
If you would have remembered, in the previous feature, Zeb always maintained that he would keep his ride fairly stock. “Not going to modify it anymore. Just this last one then I will maintain it that way”. How many of you car enthusiasts have fallen deep into this trap? Well, Zeb is on another level. You can see for yourself here. This is the aftermath of his “not going to modify it anymore” speech.
Back to our feature. Zeb then went ahead and installed an Apex-I Power FC and got Show White tuned to around 170whp. A set of simple coil overs and a fresh set of Kumho KU36 tyres and he hit the tracks again. With this simple mods to his car, Zeb managed to pull an impressive 2.49. A big leap from his 2.56 1st outing I must say.
During one of his TT sessions with the Altezza group, Zeb met quite a number of Altezza owners that were very proud and happy for Zeb. The reason was simple. Back then; there was only a handful Altezza drivers in Sepang. One being Zeb and the other was Shazli. They were so happy that the Altezza had some presence in SIC and with that, they decided to partially sponsor his registration to ZTH TTA, which Zeb eventually went on to win 1st place under the RWD Street class. On his next outing, Zeb joined the Ignition Megalap Time Attack and he went ahead and won 1st place again. This boy really does have petrol in his veins!
From then onwards, Zeb had an impressive stream of achievements in Sepang with Snow White. Along the way, Zeb and William has poured countless hours and effort in perfecting Snow White to go against bigger, meaner and badder monsters in Sepang. William, the mastermind, the Jedi master of all things Altezza has never stopped building and finding the best setup for the Altezza and using Snow White as the perfect canvas. His philosophy has always been a very simple but proven worthy one. There is no need in getting the most expensive parts in the catalogue.
Just make do with whatever you have or you could afford and fully unleash the maximum capability of it. Now this is what you call passion. How often do you see a fully built Altezza going against the likes of the Honda FD2Rs or DC-5s in Sepang and yet still manage to hold its place with the VTEC boys?
Zeb has always been very thankful to have met William, a humble, kind, selfless character who has never been too busy or too selfish to share his knowledge to anyone that is sincere. Throughout the years, they have developed a friendship stronger than just acquaintances. William has become somewhat of a mentor to Zeb as well.
They are not just done yet with Snow White. Each day, they strive to achieve another milestone with Snow White. To test the limits and to break the mindset that a humble little JDM sports production car such as these could do so much more. This is what gets them going on until today.
Both Zeb and William hopes and encourages more Altezza owners to join track days. Don’t worry about the perfect setup or the perfect part. The Altezza can handle the track. Zeb has proven it already in the most stock form with his Snow White.
Riyoz Racing Toyota Altezza Spec
Toda 2.2L Stroker kit
Toda Camshaft 300 IN 295 EX
Toda Valve Springs
Toda Cam Pulleys
Toda Metalhead Gasket
TRD 4 Throttle Kit
Riyoz Racing Custom Airbox
Sard 530c.c. Injectors
Sard Fuel Regulator
ATL fuel collector tank with Bosch 044 Fuel Pump
HKS Oil Cooler Kit
Fwin Aluminium Radiator
Link G4+ Engine Management
Riyoz Racing Custom Exhaust System
Route6 1st-6th gear cross mission kit
OS Giken super single clutch kit
5.1 Final Drive
Speedmaster Super Blend Transmission Oil
TRD 1.5 way LSD
Handling / Suspension:
Riyoz Racing custom spec D2 Racing Suspension kit
TRD front and rear Stabilizer
Hard Race 3 points rear pillow arm kit
Cusco Camber Adjuster kit
HKS Kansai tower bar
TRD bushing and engine mounting set
Brake System and Wheels
Rays TE37 18″ wheels
Advan Neova AD08R 265/35/18
Brembo F50 front Calipers
Seidoya Brake pads Front/Rear
Riyoz Racing custom brake hose
Riyoz Racing widebody (full) kits
Riyoz Racing front and rear defuser
Riyoz Racing full GT wing kit
Craft Square side mirror
Varis Light weight FRP Bonnet
Bride Full Bucket seats
Takata 4 points belt
Sard Dash Meter
250ps on the wheel ( Dynojet )
25.5 Kg-m Torque
Rev limit 8000rpm