Being such an unconventional chassis for drifting, John’s IS300 has been receiving substantial suspension tuning at Willow Spring’s Balcony, a small local test skid pad. After hours of tuning to figure out the engine management issues the car was undergoing, we finally had the ability to focus on the suspension handling and drivability. Having only a half day booked on the race track, we quickly got on the track and started taking notes on what changes we’d like to make during the day.
It was clear right away from watching John come around the first two corners that the car wasn’t very easy to drive; it almost looked like a constant battle to keep the car from rapidly spinning out. Short wheel base issue? Probably not, considering the Altezza’s wheelbase is nothing alarming. We brought the car back in and started to take a gander at the current suspension settings. Right off the bat, the coilovers had a noticeable amount of pre-load set. We immediately set the pre-load to zero and made some damper adjustments and sent the car back out.
A few laps around the race track showed us great improvement already as we watched from the pits. The car looked much more stable going through transitions and seemed to remain somewhat planted in its position. Still, there was room for improvement. John brought the car back in, and up it went on the jack stands.
After deciding to raise the front and rear about half an inch and loosen the rear sway bar, back on the track it went. Things were starting to look good! Much less unexpected spin outs and nice stable sliding coming out from small green house on the track. Loosening the rear sway bar did present a large amount of body roll, but this will be our focus for the next shakedown as we ran out of time for the day. Still, a very productive day in tuning the car in preparation for our big trip to Final Bout in September!