Nothing against american V-8s. Grew up with them and have a couple out in the garage, tho attached to Corvettes. If you want to drag race, then it makes absolutely the most economical sense because you can open up the Summit Catalog and get anything you need delivered to your front porch in time for the race weekend, and for reasonable prices. Can't do that with hardly any Toyota powerplant.

Custom wound springs are only $2-300 per corner. Call coil spring specialties and tell them what you are doing. They can calculate how to change the spring rate and free length to either maintain the stock ride height, raise or lower it or whatever you want. Lowering of course looks cool, but drag racing, you want to think about traction hooking up and weight transfer, so I'd call them see what they advise rather than just slapping on a set of generic aftermarket springs.

I never paid much attention to the subject, but I vaguely recall some posts about using a manual steering rack from a base Celica to make manual steering easier. Seems like it was discussed like ten years ago, but I don't recall any details or if it was actually accomplished. Hopefully if you search you can find some old posts on that.