Volvo joins V8s
17 June 2013
V8 Supercars' rapid expansion from a two-horse race shows no sign of abating as a third new manufacturer confirms that it will enter the fray from next season.
Volvo Car Australia made the announcement that it would be joining both Nissan and Mercedes in taking the fight to long-standing V8 rivals Holden and Ford, having linking up with the brand's global motorsport partner Polestar. Together, the pair will partner Garry Rogers Motorsport to form Volvo Polestar Racing, the first formalised factory team from a luxury car brand, to field a brace of S60-based racecars.
"I'm delighted to announce our return to motorsport in Australia," Volvo Car Australia MD Matt Braid said, "Volvo has a rich motorsport heritage in this country, including winning Australia's most famous race, Bathurst, 15 years ago this coming October and, 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."
The V8 Supercars series welcomed the latest announcement, which takes its complement of major manufacturers to five less than twelve months after Ford and Holden completed another head-to-head.
"To have another prestigious brand like Volvo in our sport is a red letter day for V8 Supercars,” series CEO James Warburton admitted, "The strength of V8 Supercars is such that global brands, not limited to car manufacturers, are becoming increasingly aware of and directly involved in the business.
"It is my vision to build V8 Supercars into one of the strongest brands in the world with the partners to match. That is the level of untapped potential I believe this sport has. I am extremely delighted to have Volvo in our sport and congratulate Garry and his team on becoming the official Volvo factory team in V8 Supercars."
Volvo Polestar Racing will look to build on the motorsport expert's impressive record, built up over years of competing with Volvo in the World Touring Car Championship, the European Touring Car Championship and, currently, the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship.
"Polestar has been Volvo Car Group's global performance and motorsport partner since 1996,” Derek Crabb, executive motorsport director of the Volvo Car Group said, "so we are extremely happy to see it enter this collaboration with Garry Rogers Motorsport for Volvo Car Australia."
The Swedish team will produce the V8 engine and assist Garry Rogers Motorsport in the development of the V8 Supercars campaign, while both Volvo Car Australia and Polestar are investing significant capital and resources into GRM.
"For myself and all our staff and sponsors who have been with us for a considerable time, the opportunity to utilise the Car of the Future regulations to introduce Volvo to our category is certainly very exciting,” eponymous team owner Rogers commented, “I know that, if we continue to work hard, it will also become very rewarding.
"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. 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."
Volvo Car Australia has a rich heritage of motorsport in Australia, having won the 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship in 1986 with Robbie Francevic in a Volvo 240T, while this year marks the 15th anniversary of Volvo winning Australia's most famous race, the Bathurst 1000, in 1998 with Jim Richards and Rickard Rydell in a Volvo S40.