THE Volvo S60 remains one of the most popular V8 Supercars among fans despite its brief racing career ending abruptly in 2016.
The Garry Rogers Motorsport-built cars claimed six race wins and 17 pole positions – all at the hands of then-rising star Scott McLaughlin – over a three-year period.
However, the S60 also holds an unusual place in history as the most recent Supercar to drive across the most well-known piece of Australian public road around the world: the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
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‘Coathanger’ crossings in racecars are rare but not that unusual; a fleet of Group A touring cars drove over the bridge a week prior to the 1990 Bathurst 1000 to promote the race, while five V8 Supercars toured over the bridge in May 2009 to announce Telstra’s sponsorship of the inaugural Sydney 500.
The bridge was even closed completely on a Sunday morning in 2005 to allow Mark Webber to take his Williams-BMW Formula 1 car for a spin!
However, the Volvo’s crossing was unique in that, other than spy photos, the Supercars version of the S60 had yet to be fully revealed to the general public – its launch was scheduled to take place several hours later.
Watch the video of the Volvo S60 driving across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the player below!
McLaughlin was the Volvo’s driver for the occasion, and he had also never driven across the multi-lane bridge in a car before.
In fact, the Kiwi’s very first crossing of the bridge had occurred the night before – on foot.
“I went across the Harbour Bridge the night before for a run, and the second time was when I went back across it in a V8 Supercar, so it was pretty crazy,” he told SPEED at the time.
The drive took place early on a Thursday morning in February 2014 ahead of the pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park, with McLaughlin and the Volvo given a full police escort from its starting point in North Sydney to a park in the shadows of the iconic bridge.
The near-dawn start time was chosen to avoid the worst of Sydney’s peak-hour traffic, but that didn’t prevent McLaughlin from receiving the full morning commute experience.
“Legitimately, someone cut me off!” he said.
“I was basically on the home run. I got to just before we turn right to go under the bridge, and this lady just turned out of a side road and cut in front of me and in front of the police escort and everything.
“I couldn’t believe it! I seriously contemplated going around her.”
McLaughlin’s fellow commuters also got to enjoy a sneak preview of the Volvo V8’s sweet engine note despite him sticking to the 70 km/h speed limit.
“It started getting a little bit hot at one stage so I had to back it off from the police car a little bit and give it a few revs at half-speed to clear the engine,” he said.
“But once we got all that sorted there was no dramas.
“I wanted to give it a bit of jandal, but I don’t think the copper would’ve liked it too much.”
Although virtually all of GRM’s Volvo hardware famously had to be sent to Sweden when its Volvo contract ended, the Sydney Harbour Bridge chassis actually remains in Australia.
It had been the first Car of the Future-spec chassis built for the Volvo program, becoming Robert Dahlgren’s for the 2014 season and David Wall’s for the first part of 2015.
While its sister chassis sit in the museums of Volvo and Cyan Racing (nee Polestar) in Sweden, this one remains at GRM as a stripped-out chassis without any running gear, ready for use if needed.