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Culture clashes doomed Volvo Supercars project

VOLVO made its mark on the Supercars Championship in a short but sweet alliance with Garry Rogers Motorsport.

In the hands of Scott McLaughlin, the S60 beast was pedalled to 17 pole positions and six championship race wins.

“It’s a shame it only went for the three years,” GRM director Barry Rogers lamented on the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Castrol.

However, Rogers admitted there were signs from early in the piece that the relationship wouldn’t last beyond the initial 2014-16 agreement.

“There’s probably no real hiding it… the Swedish culture is a lot different to our Aussie ocker-type culture,” he said.

“You couldn’t get a more serious and dedicated person than Garry (Rogers), but the public face sometimes is having a bit of fun, and often that’s his way of dealing with things.

“The culture differences were difficult from the start.

“I think there was a bit of, when I say power struggle, Garry is very much protective of what’s ours, GRM, and what we’re about – and good on him, that’s how he has got to where he is. And of course, Polestar, Christian (Dahl), he’s a very similar person to Garry.

“He was pulling that way and Garry was pulling this way.

“But to get the results we did over that period and the fun that we had, it was a great time.

“I think branding-wise it certainly helped Volvo at the time, but over in Sweden, we would get messages, like when Scotty did the big burnout after winning at Phillip Island after Garth (Tander) ran out of fuel on the line, we would get emails: ‘you can’t be doing this, there’s smoke in the environment!’

“…I think it was a real love/hate thing. They stuck by their contract that they had with us, which was three years, but from the early stages you could feel that it wasn’t going to be much more than that.”

After running Volvos from 2014-16, GRM reverted to aligning with Holden for three more seasons before exiting Supercars.

Part 2 of the Barry Rogers episode will be released this week.

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