The Swedish carmaker denied the rumours until the last minute, but now it's official: Volvo will be the third new entry in Australia's V8 Supercar racing series.
The announcement comes as Volvo prepares to launch its new S60 Polestar performance hero in Australia (watch for our review), and follows Nissan and Mercedes-Benz entries in the 2013 series. The teams join traditional rivals Holden and Ford.
“I’m delighted to announce our return to motorsport in Australia,” Matt Braid, Volvo Car Australia Managing Director, said.
“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.”
The announcement was made in Brisbane today by Matt Braid, Volvo Car Australia Managing Director; James Warburton, V8 Supercars CEO; Mark Skaife, V8 Supercars Commission Chairman; Garry Rogers, owner of Garry Rogers Motorsport; Christian Dahl, Managing Director and owner of Polestar; and Vice President International of Volvo Car Group, Thomas Andersson.
Volvo's factory-backed team will be run by Victoria-based Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM), which will drop Holden to field two S60 Polestar cars built to the new V8SC Car of the Future regulations.
The team will run as Volvo Polestar Racing, which will see GRM utilising Polestar's experience with the S60 platform.
The partnership between Volvo and GRM, believed to be worth nearly $7 million per year over a four-year deal, comes with the full backing of the Chinese-owned carmaker's head office in Sweden.
“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," Garry Rogers said.
"And 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.”
Polestar owner Christian Dahl said:
“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.
“Polestar will do our absolute best to add Volvo knowledge, engineering and development strengths to the already competent team at Garry Rogers Motorsport.”
Elsewhere in global motor racing, a version of Volvo's S60 sedan competes in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and, in the US, the Pirelli World Challenge.
Volvo last raced in Australia in the Australian Touring Car Championship with a Robbie Francevic-driven 240T winning the title in 1986, and a V40 took victory in the 1998 Bathurst 1000 at the hands of Jim Richards and Rickard Rydell.
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