Volvo set to join V8 Supercars series
VOLVO has confirmed it will enter the V8 Supercars championship from next year with a factory-backed two car outfit.
The Swedish car maker has joined forces with Melbourne-based Garry Rogers Motorsport to return to the top-tier of Australian motorsport for the first time for over a decade.
The deal was confirmed yesterday in Brisbane as part of the launch of the company's high-performance S60 Polestar sedan, which will form the basis of the V8 Supercars racers currently under development in Sweden.
The team will be known as Volvo Polestar Racing and the S60 racers will be powered by a Volvo-derived V8 modified specifically to meet the V8 Supercars regulations.
"This is a significant announcement for Volvo Cars Australia," said its Australian boss Matt Braid.
"We're very excited about returning to motor racing and teaming up with Garry Rogers Motorsport to create Volvo Polestar Racing.
"Volvo has a strong racing heritage in Australia and we're determined to add to this heritage."
Rogers said it was a "dream" for any team owner to secure factory funding and said it was a "privilege" to lead Volvo's return to the sport. But he, nor Volvo's head honchos, are under any illusion that it will be an easy task developing a new car over the next six months and beating the established front runners straight away.
"Every day is tough," he said.
"But we're aiming to do our best every day and, with that effort, our success will be determined by our results. It'd going to be an adventure."
Rogers currently fields rookie sensation, Kiwi Scott McLaughlin and Frenchman Alex Premat, in a pair of Holden VF Commodores.
He said he has no plans to change his driver lineup at the moment, and that his drivers results over the remaining eight events will determine their future.
The introduction of Volvo to V8 Supercars is a vindication of the success of the new-for-2013 Car of the Future regulations, said V8 Supercars Commissioner and former champion Mark Skaife, and comes on the back of Nissan and Mercedes-Benz joining Ford and Holden in this year's championship.
Volvo has a successful racing pedigree in Australia already, capturing the 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship with Kiwi Robbie Francevic in a turbo-charged 240 GT and heavily supported the defunct 2.0-litre Super Touring series in the 1990s winning the 1998 Bathurst 1000.
It has a long list of famous names on its roster, including Peter Brock, Jim Richards and John Bowe.