Volvo is being tipped as the latest manufacturer considering an entry in the V8 Supercars Championship, with the deadline to finalise 2014 season entries fast approaching.
Speculation about the possibility of a fifth manufacturer joining the series has been rife in recent months, particularly in the wake of V8 Supercars Commission chairman Mark Skaife’s suggestion that the series would soon make “some really important announcements” on the matter later this year.
According to sources, Volvo could announce a tie-up with Garry Rogers Motorsport as early as next week, although both sides are furiously denying that any such deal is even in the pipeline.
The announcement could coincide with Volvo Australia releasing a limited number of its S60 road cars badged and engineered by its tuning house Polestar – which is also its Scandinavian Touring Car Championship racing outfit – later this month. The new cars will be shown off on June 17 in Queensland.
Factory-supported programs using the S60 are already in place in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and the United States’ Pirelli World Challenge, and the model is also suitable – both in dimensions and drivetrain – to the ‘Car of the Future’ regulations currently in place in the V8 Supercars Championship.
One hurdle that a Volvo entry would face is that the carmaker does not produce a 5.0-litre V8 engine required under the current V8 regulations, although it used to for its now-decomissioned S80 sedan and VC90 SUV.
One solution to this is to adopt the partially-developed ‘generic’ engine that the V8 Supercars Commission developed for new manufacturers who wanted to join the series. This was an option presented to both Nissan and AMG when they announced their participation ahead of this season, although ultimately both opted to develop their own units.
“Motorsport is something that is successfully leveraged by, for example, Volvo Sweden and Volvo Cars North America,” a spokesperson for Volvo Australia is quoted as saying to Speed Café.
“Volvo Car Australia is constantly looking at a range of partnerships and, like a number of automotive manufacturers, is fully aware of V8 Supercars’ Car of the Future strategy, but we have no plans to go motor racing [here].”
Volvo has previously competed in the Australian touring car landscape, even winning the 1986 ATCC title with a dealer-supported 240 Turbo Group A entry piloted by Robbie Francevic.
More recently, Volvo Australia backed a program during the short-lived Super Touring Championship in the late 1990s, winning the 1998 Bathurst 1000 and the 1999 Manufacturers’ Championship title.