Volvo has finally confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in the V8 Supercars Championship, today announcing that it will join Australia’s tin-top series next year.
The Swedish carmaker will team up with Garry Rogers Motorsport, with the two-car team to be renamed Volvo Polestar Racing in deference to Volvo’s performance arm.
The formerly privateer outfit will campaign two S60-bodied entries in next year’s championship, which will be powered by a bespoke 5.0-litre V8 Supercars-spec version of Volvo’s 4.4-litre B8444S engine, which is already under development at Polestar’s headquarters in Sweden.
In a launch ceremony in Brisbane today, Volvo confirmed that it should have its first car ready to test before the end of the year.
Polestar’s managing director Christian Dahl was on hand at today’s launch, while Volvo Car’s global vice president Tomas Andersson and Volvo Cars Australia managing director Matt Braid were also present.
“We are very proud and excited to take on the V8 Supercars together with Volvo Car Australia and Garry Rogers Motorsport, a championship that has grown to become one of the most prestigious and competitive racing championships in the world,” Dahl said during today’s launch.
“Polestar will do our absolute best to add Volvo knowledge, engineering and development strengths to the already competent team at Garry Rogers Motorsport.”
The deal is a return to the Australian touring car landscape for Volvo, which won the 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship title as part of a short-lived dealer team effort. Volvo returned in the late 1990s during the equally short-lived Super Touring era, winning the Bathurst 1000 in 1998.
“I’m delighted to announce our return to motorsport in Australia,” Braid echoed.
“Volvo has a rich motorsport heritage in this country, including winning Australia’s most famous race, Bathurst, 15 years ago this coming October.
“As the first luxury car brand to enter a factory team in the V8 Supercars Championship, we’re determined to add to this heritage, while strengthening the presence of the S60 model line and the Volvo brand here in Australia.”
Volvo is the third new manufacturer – alongside Nissan and AMG (the latter, albeit, in a privateer capacity) to join the championship since the new ‘Car of the Future’ regulations were put in place for the start of the current season.
Volvo is also the third carmaker – Nissan and Holden being the others – to commit long-term to the V8 Supercars Championship. AMG’s involvement is in a privateer capacity, while Ford’s future is unknown in the wake of its recent confirmation that it would no longer produce the Falcon car model.
For team owner Garry Rogers, who celebrates fifty years of involvement in the Australian motorsport scene, the announcement marks the first time that his squad will enjoy full-scale manufacturer support, having spent years as a Holden customer since the formation of his team.
“The opportunity to align ourselves with Volvo, one of the world’s most recognised brands, and team up with Christian Dahl and Polestar, is first class.,” he beamed.
“I am still a racer at heart and the big plus of this relationship that impressed me more than others manufacturers I had spoken to was the fact these people had done their homework on the Car of the Future rules and regulations, and could see the commercial opportunities that this offered.
“Most heartening of all, I am dealing with people who understand racing from an engineering perspective and the personal, day-to-day matters you need to have experienced to achieve success.”
The team will once again carry the backing of long-time sponsor Fujitsu, who has re-signed with the team, Rogers also confirmed.