IT wasn’t just the cars and parts that returned to Sweden at the end of Volvo’s V8 Supercars tenure.
Garry Rogers Motorsport’s successful stint racing the Volvo S60 came to an abrupt close at the end of its three-year contract in 2016 when a change of corporate direction led the Swedish marque to depart the sport.
Under the terms of the contract, the two race cars used by the team in 2016 were packaged up and sent to Volvo’s headquarters in Sweden, along with the engine componentry and an array of parts.
But there was another very high-profile item that just happened to end up in the shipping container before its departure, a tale Rogers shared on the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Repco.
Listen to the full episode in the player below!
GRM had long been famous – or infamous? – for their pre-race grid skits.
They’d become a regular part of the squad’s pre-race routine in its Valvoline era, ranging from Garry donning one of the form-fitting lycra suits normally worn by the team’s grid girls, to representations of Christopher Skase, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, Lady Godiva and countless more.
The start of the Volvo relationship marked a return of Rogers’ pre-race antics, starting with Volvo’s first Supercars event at the Adelaide 500 in 2014 when Rogers and friends dressed up as ABBA.
However, the standout came at Bathurst later that year when the team wheeled a ‘Swedish sauna’ out onto the grid.
With photographers, journalists, fans and dignitaries assembled around it, the doors were flung open to reveal Rogers wearing a towel and a smile…
The sauna remained at GRM’s headquarters throughout the remaining years of the Volvo program … which is where Rogers picks up the story.
“When we eventually sent some of the components back to Sweden when the deal was finalised … we sent all the gear in a big container, cars and parts, odds and ends and documentation in general,” he told the V8 Sleuth Podcast.
“We had it fully loaded, and there was a tiny little bit of space right at the very end, so I thought we’ll just squeeze the sauna in there because it had my head on the front of the sauna!
“They thought I was out of their life by then, you see; then they open the container and there we were!
“I still talk to quite a few people there; they found it very amusing.”
While the two cars sent back to Volvo remain in Sweden on display, we’re less certain about the final fate of the sauna…