Super Saloons have some set guide lines from the rule book. These rules are set by Speedway New Zealand Technical Committee Members, and are enforced by Scrutineers (Vehicle Checkers) at the Speedway tracks around New Zealand.
Super Saloons run a number of engine combinations. Most Super Saloons run a Chev engine, with a few opting for the Ford. When deciding on which engine size to run, some drivers may be wanting it for sheer power, and others to determine the weight of the overall car they wish to run. There is a ratio size of engine to weight for these cars, some drivers prefer to run a smaller engine, therefore their cars can be lighter. Others prefer to run up to the maximum of 434 cubic inch (ci). A car with a 434ci engine, has to run a minimum weight of 1188kgs including the driver. A car running a 434ci engine will normally average around 750 horse power (hp).
All Super Saloons are Left Hand Drive, therefore the driver is sitting on the inside of the corners as opposed the right hand side which would make the driver closer to the concrete wall. This helps for balance of weight in the car and also is critical for vision.
All the cars run a fibre glass body and most opting for a plastic nose.
There is a choice of running your fibre glass body to your preferred road car shape, for example Camaro, Corvette, Mustang, or Commodore. It is becoming more common for drivers to use a more American Style body often seen in the Late Model Class in USA.
These cars are noted to be having flatter panels all around.
Underneath that fibre glass body is a space frame chassis. All space frame chassis are custom built to our specifications, and these are constructed out of either round tubing, or square box, with aluminium interior paneling forming the drivers cock pit.
All most all Super Saloons run coil over springs in the front suspension. Whilst torsion bars are the preferred choice for the rear, with a few opting to use coil over in the rear suspension. A coil spring in a larger version of a spring you would find inside a Bic pen. The idea of the spring is to assist with the keeping the tyres on the track and transferring the weight. A torsion bar is a steel rod, sized between 30” - 34” long that twists as the car moves up and down.
Custom built steel wheels are run on all Super Saloons, these are paired with specially designed tyres for dirt racing. These tyres are made in America and can come in a range of sizes and widths.
All Super Saloons run tyre stagger in the rear. Stagger is when the inside (left) rear tyre is smaller than the right rear tyre.
This stagger can vary from track to track and from wet or drivey tracks to a dry or slick track. Wet drivey tracks are often at the start of the night. A slick track is when the track gets dry and dusty.
Examples of stagger are a Left Rear Circumference can measure 94 inches and a right rear can measure 104 inches, this means 10 inches of stagger. Some drivers will run 12 inches of stagger, some will run 8 and others may go as low as 3 inches. This depends on the driver and their preference and also what the car needs to make it perform desirably.
All Super Saloons have a radiator in the rear of the car, this is for a number of reasons.
One is to have a bit more weight in the rear of the chassis. Another reason for this is to keep the radiator out of harms way, if it were in the front like a road car and damage occurred to the front this could be disastrous. And finally, by having the radiator located in the rear, it allows for fresh clean air to go through the radiator.
Super Saloons can run either methanol or AV gas. A driver will usually adhere to the recommendation of their engine builder when deciding which fuel to run. Many drivers choose to use methanol which does help to keep the engine cooler, but there are still a number of drivers running AV gas. A car running methanol can use anywhere from 70 - 120L a night. Whereas an AV Gas run car will generally use 40 - 60L a night.
All Super Saloon drivers will wonder down and check the track out before racing starts, they will look to see how much moisture is in the track, this will help them to decide how much stagger to use and what tyre pressures to set, and other chassis adjustments.
The drivers have to ability to make some cock pit adjustments that can be made by the driver during racing, one common one is the brake bias. This is when the driver can adjust the brakes to change the balance, this could mean more in the front and less in the rear or vice versa. In order to make these changes the driver turns a dial located in the cockpit.
Another cockpit adjustment becoming more and more common is the shock absorber adjusters. The driver turns another dial which will change the hardness or softness of the shocks depending on their preference. More drivers are choosing to run gas shocks. The gas that runs these shocks is nitrogen and the pressure on these can be altered both by increasing or decreasing to the drivers liking.
Many drivers choose to run a weight jacker. A weight jacker can look similar to a handbrake, the motion of moving back and forwards moves the fluid from the hand piece to the rear of the car, through the left rear suspension of the car. This raises the height of the left rear corner of the car as the track dries, the idea of lifting the car higher is that it puts more load down onto the tyre, therefore the driver can use more acceleration when the track is drier and slick. The driver may also choose to do this adjustment on a wet drivey track to help in the corners. Cars that do not run an cockpit adjustment weight jacker will do the same adjustments between races in the pits.
Whilst back in the pits the driver may instruct their pit crew to change the spacers in the rear wheels. A choice will be made to remove the spacers on the rear axle, this will bring the wheels back into the car under the body. Or add more spacers on to the diff to move the tyres further out side the body line. The idea of this can be to tighten the car up to keep them straighter.
Bringing the Right Rear (RR) tyre in under the car further as the night goes on or as the track dries out, will help to increase side bite. Side bite is when the car is not getting so sideways and the RR tyre is biting into the dirt harder.
If the track is bumpy and you want to try to stabalise the car more you may wish to poke the wheels out more, therefore adding more spacers to the rear axle to achieve this.
Super Saloons are a class that has seen so much change over the last 10 years, and still to this day, chassis builders are continuing to develop and search for that little bit more.