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In a glittering packed media conference, Volvo Car Australia, has this morning re-entered Australian touring car racing with a fully funded, $7m factory works team ..
Volvo Motorsport International, (VMS) Volvo Car Australia and leading V8 Supercar Team, Gary Rogers Australia today announced a four year, $7m 2 car works team based on two standard chassis S60’s to enter the 2014 Australian Touring Car Championship known in Australia as V8 Supercar.
Speaking before a packed media room, with journalists and camera crews from around Australia and the Pacific, at the Brisbane Sofitel, Volvo Cars Australia, head, Matt Braid announced Volvos return to touring car racing in Australia stating proudly;
“We are abundantly aware of the heritage we must follow, the fighting sprit our teams have founded here and the traditions of tenacity Volvo has established in Australia and Europe. We promise and undertake to build on that history with success” Matt Braid told the assembled media. Mr Braid recalled how Volvo had fought tenaciously to win the 86 ATCC and 98 Bathurst and said ‘that is what we will build on that’s that we’re about. “We’re here to win” he said.
Matt announced respected and successful local V8 Supercar team, Gary Rogers Motorsport, would be re-branded as Polestar Racing Australia, and confirmed that a two car works S60 team would be formed around the GRM team based out of its Melbourne workshops. Polestar Racing Team Principal Christian Dahl was present in the GRM team pit on the weekend and was centre stage at the launch as the local team was re-branded Polestar Racing Australia.
Gary Rogers Motorsport has a rich tradition in Australian Motorsport having won two Bathurst 1000 endurance races and the gruelling 12-hour production race
Volvo Motorsport won the 1986 Australian Touring car championship with the joint Mark Petch Motorsport and Australian Volvo Dealer Team operation through whom was established a tenacious reputation for technological excellence and fighting spirit and was followed up with a dominant victory in impressive display of engineering with a run away win in the 1998 Two litre Bathurst by the joint TWR Volvo Motorsport and Australian Volvo Dealer Team assault.
Volvo also won the 1996 Bathurst support race, as well as the 1998 BTCC and 1985 ETCC and the inaugural Wellington street race.. as well as the 1985 and 86 Macau and Mount Fiji races and as well as 2nd in the 1985 Spa 24 hour 6, 500 k wins in the 86 ETCC.
Gary Rogers Motorsport, Principal, Gary Rogers said “every effort and resource of his team would be aimed towards quickly developing a sharp chassis and stiff cage assembly” drawing on his team’s reputation for cage and suspension excellence.
Polestar Principal ,Christina Dahl, who was also in attendence revealed a 4.4 lite Volvo V8 would be employed in the Australian program, and was being currently under development by Polestar for the Australian championship
Mr Rogers said there would be no changes in local drive line up but added “everyone who works for us works for us under the clear understanding you perform or your out”. In an interview for Swede Speed Christian Dahl reflected he hoped Polestar engineers would embedded in the local, team “somewhere down track” and revealed “we’re helping now and that inout and coperation will grow but I must say GRM have very strong engineering facilities on a par with Polestar”
Mr Dahl said the entire engine was being developed by Polestar and would b shipped “complete in the box ready to fire”
The cars will be production S60 shells and will feature a 60 degree v8 based on the joint Yamaha Volvo V8 used in the now discontinued S90 and will include a locally GRM developed throttle body, suspension and roll cage.
The cars will run the a control series AP Racing rotor and calliper system, Motec engine management and the control series dry cell and sequential gear box The cars will feature a GRM developed CAD structural rigidity roll cage with Polestar CAD input.
Gary Rogers revealed two shells were already in his teams Melbourne workshop and were already being prepared
“The shells are there now” Mr Rogers enthusiastically stated
Rogers revealed GRM use a number of precision Australian sub contractors
Christian Dahl said the V8 powerplants were “developed as we speak for the V8 championship” and stated that whilst he would like to see Volvo works drivers from Polestar race at Bathurst, he felt “some adaptation time would required to adapt to the heaver Australian formula”. “ Pistons cylinder heads values and bore and stroking are being done,” Christian Dahl said in a post launch interview with John Amundsen
Under V8 Super car regulations all the manufacturers cars are required to run a control engine management in cabin dry cell fuel system.
Volvos entry has made possible by the new multi manufactuer car of the future regulations in Australian V8 Supercar. Under the car of the future series regulations, a control Motec Engine Managment system, wheel and AP Racing brake rotors and calipers will be fitted
Volvo Motorsport used Lockheed rotors in the 1985 and 1986 ETCCs and ATCC. Lockheed Competition later became AP.
V8 Supercar Australia Commissioner, and former Australian Touring Car Champion, Mark Skaife, said the re entry of Volvo Australia would help “future proof the championship by adding a tenacious and committed manufacturer who fought hard and successfully disproving critics before”. Skaife is a former Nissan works driver.
Briad said past bigotry agaisnt Volvo was now “largely a thing of the past and that “the companys motorsport and road credentials are now respected and a given”.
Asked if the program was funded by Volvo Car Corporation Mr Braid said the entire program was “being funded entirely by Volvo Car Australia”.
The program is understood to be 4 year commitment, costing $7m Australian over a 4 year contract. The contract establishes GRM as full factory contractor on a par with past teams such Eggenberger, RAS Sport and, TWR.
Mr Rogers said the aim was to have ‘sharp chassis and suspension from round one and be as on the pace as much as we can by day one”.
Gary Rogers said that his team were also contributing to the budget, and aiding through “our sponsors Fujitsu Cummins and Valvoline who see this was a long term positioning and commercial advantage and are enthusiastically behind this program”
Gary Rogers revealed that he had been seeking a manufacturer contract for two years and that he been in “secret negotiations with Volvo for several months”.
Christian Dahl said he hoped Polestar engineers would be embedded in the team to help the local operation
Gary Rogers said his team would do the roll cage and chassis development “with substantial input from Polestar Racing Sweden”.
Mr Dahl confirmed that Polestar would supply the engines “complete in the box across pistons cylinder heads valves and throttle bodies. Mr Rogers said GMR would also develop in-house throttle bodies.
Asked in a packed media conference if the selection of the V8 championship was based on Pacific wide marketing opportunity – as the V8 championship expended across the pacific, Matt Braid explained it was “solely a decision to improve brand image in Australia and to establish the S60R here (in Australia”
Whilst conceding the rear wheel drive V8 Suer cars championship specification meant the FWD turbocharged production model wasn’t being used in the championship, Christian Dahl and Matt Braid commented that “today customers understood most racing formulas were no longer production based” and that it was “about demonstrating manufacturer ability rather than strict model ability”
Gary Rogers said a development chassis would be testing by early to late December this year and would “up and running around for testing and clearance by Supercar”
Rogers Dahl would not rule Swedish works drivers for the famed and gruelling, Bathurst 1000 and Mr Andersson, of Volvo Car Corporation Europe, together with Mr Braid emphasised “Volvo Motorsport has always hired the most tenacious drivers in touring car racing and we will send the best whenever required”. They stressed the decision on endurance drivers has not yet been made, but Robert Dalgren was noticeably in attendance and Mr Dahl emphasised Roberts renown input on testing set up.
Team will be sponsored by Fujitsu air conditioners, Cummins Diesel Australia and Valvoline. Valvoline were a Volvo Driver Team sponsor in 1986.
Collated by John Amundsen for Swedespeed at the Volvo Australia Supercar launch
For further information:
John Amundsen Brisbane Australia
Ph 61 7 3863 3103
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