That Time I Shared My Saab 900 with Frankie At Gingerman Raceway

Frankie was visiting Michigan for the second time of 2017, hoping to finish up the 9-3 Aero he left in my garage a few months earlier. After a few weeks of hard work, we decided it was time to have a little fun, so we took my ’98 Saab 900 to Gingerman Raceway for a Wednesday night test and tune.

Ideally, Frankie’s Aero would have woken from its three month slumber, making this it’s debut event, but unfortunately we fell a bit short of that goal. However, my Saab 900 was prepped and ready to run, and I had no problem sharing it with my fellow Saabro and best friend, Frankie Cruz.

My daily driven 900 was sporting OEM 16-inch 10-spokes wrapped in 205/45R16 Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Specs. It had Carbotech XP10’s up front with EBC Yellowstuff pads in the rear, and the system was just bled with some ATE typ200 brake fluid.

We each got three sessions of about twenty minutes each before calling it quits for the night—partially because it was getting late, partially because the motor mounts had gotten so bad the car was coming out of gear.

Frankie was able to record a 2:06 in his final session, just three seconds short of what I had been running most of the night. Not too shabby for his first track day, in a foreign car no less.

Frankie and I have fairly different views when it comes to track cars. Frankie sends me various vehicles totting track performance from the factory. Listing-off horsepower numbers, track times, the “special” features, etc. His most talked about choice would have to be the Camaro ZL1 1LE. Whereas I haven’t given a car newer than 10 years old a single thought, aside from buying the cheapest eco-box possible so I can spend all my time working on the racecar. I thought these differing view points could make for some interesting banter, so I decided to ask him a few questions.

“What’d you think of your first track day experience?”

It’s all I want to do now.

“How about the car? Did it meet your expectations?”

It stopped and went about as I expected, but hung onto the corners flatter than I thought it would. Shifting into third was iffy, and brake fade was real at times, but nothing that ruined the fun.

2009 Cobalt SS Sedan_1987 Saab 900_Garage.jpg

“Granted, a Camaro (whichever fucking letters go here) may have been quicker on the straights and flatter in the corners, but is it worth the wait? Or better yet, is it worth its price tag, especially now that you’ve experienced a $1000 track car?”

I see what you mean now about just having a car with decent brakes and tires. That was the most fun I’ve ever had behind the wheel of a car.

 

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