The luxury car marketplace is without doubt a competitive arena. Innovative design, advanced technologies and endless advertising positioned to draw individuals to a brand’s particular philosophy of premium motoring makes the segment an unforgettable battleground. Motorsports has also been a central part to building the respect of a brand. Luxury carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Bentley have history in auto racing dating back to the infancy of their existence. Older companies have the advantage of their heritage but newer marques such as Lexus and Acura have also publicly asserted themselves in competition benefiting from being the exciting young gun.
Neither a century-old auto company nor a new start-up luxury car builder, Volvo Cars is in a position of reintroducing itself to the premium car game. Operating post-Ford Motor Company ownership, the new Zhejiang Geely Holding Group owned Volvo Cars has a lot to prove. For what will be their latest demonstration, Volvo will return to Australian touring car competition in 2014.
Volvo Cars has announced the planned addition of their first foray onto the popular Australian V8 Supercars Championship. Through Volvo Car Australia, an alliance with Garry Rogers Motorsport will bring the S60 sedan into the flourishing touring car series. Creating Volvo Polestar Racing Australia, the official presence in the series for the Volvo S60 will be the Scandinavian derived brand’s highest profile effort in motorsport. Derek Crabb, Executive Motorsport Director of Volvo Car Group welcomed the new venture into the 2014 Australian V8 Supercars Championship with great enthusiasm. “We are extremely happy to expand our motorsport activities and offer a Volvo Polestar Racing team to fans in Australia and all over the world. The V8 Supercars championship is one of the – if not the -most competitive touring car championships in the world with fans across the globe.” said Crabb.
Volvo’s participation in the series was also credited to a more rule package in the Australian V8 Supercars Championship collected under the “Car of the Future” rules introduced this year. Not only did the new regulations allowed the Holden Commodore and Ford Fusion to remain in the series, an official effort from Nissan is now part of the series. Including a largely unofficial presence of Mercedes-Benz, there will be five manufacturers involved in the 2014 Australian V8 Supercars Championship.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Volvo was a staple in touring car racing in Australia as well as Europe. Prominently part of the British Touring Car Championship and the Australian Super Touring Championship, the biggest moment for Volvo was a win at the 1998 Bathurst 1000. New Zealand legend Jim Richards and Swedish racing superstar Rickard Rydell teamed up to bring a Volvo S40 to victory. Despite continuing success in 1999, the Swedish brand’s than-owner Ford Motor Company dissolved the touring car operation at the end of that season in favour of racing the Ford Mondeo.
Volvo’s 2014 return to touring cars will involve one unfamiliar variable. An eight-cylinder powerplant will have to power the Volvo S60 sedan on the Australian V8 Supercars Championship. With assistance of Gary Rogers Motorsport, Volvo Cars will build a V8 engine meant solely to compete in the
As well as boding well to the vitality of the Australian V8 Supercars Championship, the formation of Volvo Polestar Racing Australia provides a global front for the Swedish brand to once-again become defined for their own greatness.
Information and photo source: Volvo Cars