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Blitzkrieg - 1999 Toyota Altezza

Blitz Japan's Intense Top Speed Altezza

Robert Choo
Apr 6, 2007
Photographer: Timothy Woo
0107_turp_01_z+1999_toyota_altezza+right_front_view Photo 1/13   |   Blitzkrieg - 1999 Toyota Altezza

As original as import drag racing is to the United States, top speed runs have been a form of premier racing for many Japanese tuning shops. Unlike drag racing, which usually lasts less than 10-seconds down the 1320, top speed runs can last a couple of minutes and several miles until the vehicle reaches its top speed. Like drag racing, it is a no-holds-barred showdown, pushing automotive technology to the ragged edge around a high-speed oval.

No stranger to top speed racing, Blitz Japan has been an active participant in many types of motorsports since the company hit the scene as a small tuning shop in 1977. When Toyota Japan introduced the Altezza in 1999 (Lexus IS300 in the United States), Blitz technicians wasted no time in researching and developing a complete line of performance enhancements for the Altezza. Parts ranging from the simple sthetics of an aerodynamics kit to the high performance turbo kit for the 3S-GE engine were developed in-house by Blitz engineers.

0107_turp_02_z+1999_toyota_altezza+right_rear_view Photo 2/13   |   Blitzkrieg - 1999 Toyota Altezza

The silver Altezza that graces these pages is not your standard four-door sedan, unless of course you know of any other four-door sedans with a top speed of 270 km/h (168.75 mph). The Altezza sports an internally stock four-cylinder 3S-GE engine boosted by a Blitz turbo kit. If you are wondering where the other two cylinders are, you might be surprised to find that U.S.-spec Lexus' are often outfitted with larger displacement engines than those found overseas.

The 3S-GE engine found in the Japan-spec Altezza is an updated version of the second-gen MR2 engine, minus the key letter "T" (for turbo). However, even with the lack of a turbocharger, the stock, normally aspirated VVT-i controlled 3S-GE engine makes 10 more ponies than the previous generation turbo 3S-GTE engine, pushing power rating from the original 200 to the current 210 hp. To further up the power ante, Blitz engineers outfitted the engine with a K3T-3070MGA turbocharger regulated to 0.6 kpa (8.82 psi) by a Blitz Type C42 wastegate and SBC-iD boost controller. Since the 3S-GE engine still runs stock internals and high-compression pistons (11.5:1), boost levels had to be kept to a minimum. The turbocharger and wastegate are mounted on an equal-length, stainless-steel turbo manifold. From the hot side of the turbo, spent gases are expelled through a 3-inch downpipe and Blitz Nur-Spec Racing 80mm polished stainless-steel exhaust.

0107_turp_04_z+1999_toyota_altezza+intake Photo 3/13   |   A Blitz Sus Power filter is on duty to keep the harmful elements from entering the turbo.

On the intake end, a Blitz Sus Power Cleaner prevents harmful elements from entering the turbocharger. On the cold side, compressed air is routed through mandrel-bent aluminum tubing and force-fed into a Blitz front-mount chiller. The cooler is a dual-purpose unit, in that it lowers charge air temperatures to an optimum level before the intake and generates a wicked front fascia treatment on the Altezza. To protect the turbocharger from compressor surges between shifts, a Blitz DD blow-off valve was incorporated along the intake tract. The Altezza runs a stock ignition set-up with the exception of Blitz Iridium-spec 77 spark plugs. A high-volume Blitz in-tank fuel pump and larger injectors ensure proper air/fuel ratios are maintained while the fuel and ignition maps themselves are fine-tuned by a Blitz Access-tuned ECU. The entire performance package boosts drive-wheel power figures to 298 hp, enough to propel the Altezza to 168.75 mph.

0107_turp_11_z+1999_toyota_altezza+center_console Photo 7/13   |   A Blitz SBC-iD boost controller regulates boost pressure while a Blitz Power Meter measures power output.

Drivetrain upgrades have been kept to a minimum with the exception of a Blitz Active dual-disc clutch transferring the power from a lightened flywheel to the six-speed manual transmission and TRD limited-slip differential. A Blitz Sachs SP7 coilover set-up provides the lowered stance and extra road-hugging grip at full thrust.

Nicely filling the wheel well of the Altezza are 18-inch Blitz Technospeed rims, which are home to extra-sticky Dunlop FM901 tires. Residing within the stock binders are upgraded Blitz performance brake pads. Further closing the ground space between the asphalt and body is a Blitz body kit. The kit consists of a front lip spoiler, front grille, rear spoiler and three-piece tail. Not only does the kit add an aggressive aura to the Altezza, but also the extra downforce needed for the high-speed oval.

With the amount of modifications performed on the Altezza, you would think it was a pure track car, but it is far from that. Blitz claims the Toy still sees the streets on a regular basis and from the working radio and full interior amenities, we believe them. The idea of having a four-door family car doesn't seem so bad after all, huh?

By Robert Choo
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