In order to differentiate from the Fart-hinder Saab 900 that they have raced in the past, the Saab 9-3 was entered as “Fart-kontroll” – Swedish for Speed Trap.
This Saab 9-3 was in pretty good shape at the end of the 2015 season, in immediate need of a clutch after an early failure at the autumn race at Road America. The car had been left over the winter in the care of team member Aidan Hicks to do the necessary repairs at his place of employment, a car dealership in the Minneapolis area.
ChumpCar rule changes meant they could use something other than OE springs, though there were still restrictions. Some measurements determined that the front springs from a classic 900 were the same outside diameter as those on the NG900/OG9-3. However, the wire size was a little larger, generally meaning a stiffer spring rate (provided the alloy isn’t a variety of cheese). That spring rate would be increased further by trimming a few coils. There is not much available for the rear springs due to their conical design, but Hanover European Parts had given us a pair of used Eibach lowering springs for the rear. They weren’t quite racing springs, but lowering the rear end would also lower the center of gravity. The 9-3 now sits much closer to the pavement.
Race weekend looked promising weatherwise, with clear skies and temperatures around 70 degrees. The 9-3 performed well, and all drivers ran faster lap times than in previous years. The transmission gearing was perfect so that the drivers only had to use 3rd and 4th gears, topping out at 120 mph, higher than most of the cars competing. The new rear springs helped the Saab to set up for corners with a touch of trailing throttle oversteer. The larger brake rotors allowed for shorter stopping distances, hence quicker times at all corners of the track.
Read more about this racing weekend in the report of Tim Vinker.