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- Volvo Cars of North America Announces Pricing, Full Details of 2015.5 Model Lineup
- Volvo Polestar Racing Returns to Sydney Motorsport Park
- Volvo Cars starts production of the new Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar
Ian Stewart is no stranger to Volvo. His father was a huge Volvo enthusiast and an engineer with Volvo through the 1970s and early 1980s. Ian has raced in one form or another since the age of 16. He started in a Volvo 240 but quickly realized it was not a competitive car and moved on to a Miata. A decade of driving later, he won national championships in an M3, a 911 GT3 and then a NASA Time Trial Championship in a Mini Cooper. He also raced a pair of Hondas at the SCCA runoffs in 2008. He is a seasoned driver and this year he is behind the wheel of a 2015 S60 R-Design.
In 2012, Ian took the reigns of his father’s Volvo and Mini repair shop Maitland Imports in Orlando, FL. Many years had pasted since he last drove a Volvo but during a trip to a Volvo parts vendor, he rented a 2012 S60 T5 and came away extremely impressed. Even though the S60 was the base model of the rental fleet, the sedan caught his attention. He decided he wanted to get one and demonstrate how well a S60 could perform with Ian behind the wheel doing what he does best.
Ian started looking at classing and found the S60 T6 was slotted into SCCA G Stock, against a Focus ST, Celica GT, and Neon SRT4 ACR. He believed the S60 would compete with those cars and so began the search and important negotiation with his wife. Not only did Ian want to treat his wife to a nice vacation, Ian wanted to use the Volvo Overseas Delivery Program experience to convince his customers to stay with the brand rather then trading for another make when they were ready for something new. His OSD experience worked well and many of my customers that were considering selling for another brand have stayed with Volvo and purchased a 2014’s and 2015’s.
When Ian took delivery in Sweden, he had never driven the 6-cylinder T6 or R-Design but his confidence with the chassis was strong simply based on his experience in the rental a year prior. He drove on the famous took the car to the Nürburgring in Germany and came away very impressed. He had one of the quicker cars pushing around the track that day with stock brakes and all season tires. Once back in the States, he signed up for an event with a new set of wheels, IPD rear sway bar and Dunlop DZII tires.
The first event was performed with the stock alignment and the results were brutally quick beating a good driver in a Z06 and setting 2nd in PAX (a class modifier that takes into account the avg speed of a class to figure out where you finish overall at an event). The driver who finished ahead of Ian in PAX happened to be the 2013 Nationals PAX winner, beating out over 1100 drivers. Competing within a couple 100ths off of a National champion gave Ian significant confidence in the S60, especially for a first event. He continued to developed the S60 by adjusting alignment specs. As a result, he won each PAX event.
By running in a stock class he is able to use tires with a 140 treadwear or higher on stock sized wheels. G Stock allows the front or rear sway bar, cat-back exhaust to be modified, otherwise the S60 must remain stock. Ian attended his first national tour (big event) in March 2014. It had been 7 years since he had done a national event and the last time he won the championship. Shaking off some nerves, Ian found himself in 7th place going into the final run on Day One. On his final run, he closed to within .142 of the current National Champion and secured 2nd place. At the start of Day Two, Ian’s confidence was high. He knew he had the speed to pull a win but bad weather cancelled the event as he sat on grid.
Since March, Ian has only driven in a couple of events. He has been exploring other tire options including Hankook Ventus R-S3’s but kept coming back to the stiffer sidewalls of the Dunlop DZII. Ian found the S60 responded extremely well to a 275 front tire with the 245’s on the back. In fact, during testing the S60 was .6 faster on a 30-second course with the oversized front tire.
Take some time Thursday and Friday to see how Ian is performing with Live timing through the SCCA online, http://sololive.scca.com/. Post a message in the discussion thread linked below. He will be in the last group Thursday and Friday.
From all of us at swedespeed, we wish Ian all the best!
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