14.1 C
Mount Panorama
Saturday, April 20, 2024
HomeNewsClassic CarsThe Jim Richards Volvo that didn't win Bathurst

The Jim Richards Volvo that didn’t win Bathurst

STEVE Richards will get behind the wheel of a Volvo S40 Super Tourer at Brands Hatch in England in July as he and Greg Murphy drive a pair of Super Tourers in Historic competition.

The Volvo that Richards will drive is not a complete unknown to his family given it’s the very same S40 that his father Jim previously raced in the Australian Super Touring scene.

But it’s not the Bathurst 1000-winning Volvo – so just what is the story behind the Volvo that Richards Jnr will drive in England?

The right-hand-drive S40 is one of the cars built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing and used in the 1997 British Touring Car Championship, reportedly by Kelvin Burt.

The car – chassis R7-004 – was sent to Australia for Volvo Australia and given to George Shepheard’s team to prepare and run in 1998 with Jim Richards behind the wheel.

Its debut Down Under came in the non-championship races at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park and Richards took pole position.

Richards’ first win in the S40 came at Phillip Island. Photo: an1images.com/Dirk Klynsmith.

The third round of that year’s BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship at Phillip Island was the site of Richards’ first win in this S40, a car that found itself always having to play catch up from the standing starts that were part of the series.

The four-wheel-drive Audis of Brad Jones and Cameron McConville and the rear-wheel-drive, ex-Diet Coke BMW of Cameron McLean always leapt from the starting line faster than Richards and his front-wheel-drive S40, however the Australasian racing great did score another win in the next round at Eastern Creek.

Richards finished third in the championship behind the Audi duo, however this ’97-spec car wasn’t taken to Bathurst for that year’s AMP Bathurst 1000; instead TWR brought out a pair of left-hand-drive ’98-spec cars for the Great Race.

The ’97-spec car stayed in Australia and continued to race in the 1999 BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship. Richards stepped into the ’98 Bathurst-winning car and Mark Williamson moved into the right-hand-drive car.

He drove it for the first few rounds before he was replaced by Mark Adderton for Mallala.

The long-time Super Touring regular drove it for the remainder of the championship bar the season finale at Calder Park, where Volvo placed McLean in the car in a bid to try and take points away from Paul Morris and help Richards win the championship.

Cameron McLean was brought into the Volvo line-up at Calder in 1999. Photo: an1images.com/Dirk Klynsmith.

That plan fell two points short and Morris’ BMW pipped Richards to the championship by just two points.

That year’s Bathurst Super Touring event was a 500-kilometre format and Volvo signed up Craig Baird and Matthew Coleman (who had driven for BJR’s Audi team during the championship) for the one-off event. They finished third in the rain-affected, shortened race.

Volvo Australia withdrew from Super Touring, so this car was sent back to Europe and later reportedly appeared in the 2001 Swedish Touring Car Championship.

Craig Baird’s only appearance for the Volvo team came at Bathurst in 1999. Baird is pictured in front of the Mondeos of Dean Canto and Peter Hills. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

Used for test and demonstration purposes in the next few years, the ex-Richards Volvo was purchased by Kiwi Lindsay O’Donnell in 2016 and has been a regular ever since in Historic Touring Car racing in New Zealand and overseas.

Jim Richards raced it at Ruapuna in 2017, Steve Richards raced it at Ruapuna in 2020 and Paul Radisich raced it at last year’s Pukekohe Supercars event.

The S40 in action at Pukekohe in 2022. Photo: Richard Opie.

WATCH: This Volvo in action in the 1999 BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship

Want to read more?

Subscribe to V8 Sleuth to receive regular updates of news and products delivered straight to you.

Latest News

Want to read more?

Subscribe to V8 Sleuth to receive regular updates of news and products delivered straight to you.