I’m Building A Drift Car Lexus IS200: The Introduction
Written by Alex Harrington

I’ve loved drifting for a long time, ever since I was first told it wasn’t just something that happens in a certain Fast and Furious movie. My young eyes lit up as a whole new world of motorsport entered my life and since then, I’ve watched everything I can on the sport. If there’s a car going sideways, I’ve watched it, and absorbed everything I could possibly take from the video.

Now, I’m at a very fortunate point in my life where I can spare some cash to move me an inch closer to my dream of maybe one day competing in a drift tournament of some kind. So, here’s my first step in doing so.

I want to use this outlet to talk about what I’m doing and what I learn along the way, so if any of you want to do something similar, I can make the mistakes for you. So, let me tell you what I’ve done so far.

The car, a 2004 Lexus IS200 SE

I bought this car a long time ago as my daily driver when I was in my early 20s for £2000. I never bonded with the car but it was comfortable and low mileage and it looked good. In fact, I think it looks very good, especially for its age.

It was in good-ish condition, but while the chassis is brilliant and the manual gearbox sweet, it’s let down by an open differential that made the rear end feel heavy. The whole car’s pretty heavy actually, sitting with a kerb weight of 1360kg.

I stopped driving it about a year ago when I bought an old Audi A4 diesel wagon. The Lexus just drank too much fuel and, well, I got bored. I didn’t sell the Lexus, though. It’s sat on my drive right now, and a few months ago I made the decision not to sell it, but to keep it and turn it into a drift car.

Why the Lexus?

Well, it’s cheap and RWD. While it’s very heavy and in need of a bit of an overhaul, the plan is to strip out its exterior, give it a full service, and weld the diff. This should form the perfect base for me to start practicing at local events.

The inline-6 2.0-litre engine will do fine for now. It only produces 150hp on a good day, but I’d much rather practice on a lower powered car. As I gain experience, then I might start adding power.

So what’s the plan?

Going on a diet! Not me (although it has been a filling Christmas), but the car. I’ll strip the interior, sell what I can and put that money towards some lightweight racing seats. I should probably do the service, too… but the interior is much more fun.

I’ll keep you updated as we go, but I’m very excited to get started.

What do you want to know?

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