WHAT HAPPENED TO THE VOLVO V8 SUPERCARS?

Scott McLaughlin snatched a last moment race win at Phillip Island in the #33 Volvo in 2014 as leader Garth Tander ran out of fuel on the final straight. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

THE Volvo V8 Supercar program was one that captured plenty of attention and lots of great results, but what happened to the S60 V8 Supercar race cars that competed in the V8 Supercars Championship from 2014 to 2016?

Our recent story on what happened to the Erebus Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs that competed around the same time generated a lot of interest and one of the common questions to follow was about the S60s.

The sweet sound of the Polestar V8-powered Volvos run by Garry Rogers Motorsport was very distinctive, the team claiming a victory in its first season at the non-championship Albert Park event with Scott McLaughlin driving the #33 S60.

He followed up with a championship race win in Perth (Volvo’s first in the ATCC/V8 Supercars Championship since 1986) and punched out further wins over the course of the three seasons that the S60 program ran.

It came to an end after Volvo’s withdrawal at the end of 2016 with two of the three cars produced being taken overseas.

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Scott McLaughlin scored victory for Volvo at Barbagallo in 2014. It was the S60’s second V8 Supercars race win but first in a championship race. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

However, the original Volvo chassis (raced by Robert Dahlgren in 2014 and David Wall for part of 2015) remains in Australia with GRM, but it’s now a stripped-out chassis without running gear. It was retained by GRM as a spare in case of emergency use.

As part of the end of the team’s Volvo deal, the two other cars were sent back overseas.

“There was a clause in the contract said both during and after the race program Volvo owned the Volvo specific parts while GRM owned all Supercars specific parts,” Barry Rogers told supercars.com in February 2017.

Scott McLaughlin was part of the battle pack in the closing stages of the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Then it all went wrong at the Chase. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

“Basically they were getting the option to buy back all of the components we developed and put into the program to protect them from the cars running in an inferior series.

“In reality it doesn’t quite work out because you can’t own a car without having the chassis or the transaxle and so on (which are Supercars control items).

“We could have butted heads over what the real meaning of those clauses were, but Garry (Rogers) decided we didn’t want to pull the cars apart. He wanted the history retained.”

And indeed that history has been retained, with the chassis McLaughlin drove in his now-famous dice with Jamie Whincup in Adelaide in 2014 (also the car he won at Albert Park and Perth in as well as Sydney Motorsport Park and Phillip Island) put back into its 2014 Albert Park livery.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport team with the GRM 017 chassis before it was sent overseas. It was returned to its 2014 Albert Park winning livery. Photo: Garry Rogers Motorsport

It was sent back to Polestar (now Cyan Racing) in early 2017 to take up residence in the organisation’s museum collection in Sweden.

The third chassis – debuted by McLaughlin in Perth in 2015 – was the same chassis that McLaughlin drove throughout the remainder of 2015 and 2016. 

He finished third in the ’16 championship, his final season with GRM before moving to DJR Team Penske for the following season.

This chassis – GRM 018 – was kept in its final Wilson Security Racing livery as it competed at the 2016 Sydney 500 at Sydney Olympic Park and returned to Sweden to be placed in the company’s Museum at Gothenburg.

The Volvo S60s really made their mark in a short time in V8 Supercars, it’s very sad it’s highly, highly unlikely we will ever hear or see one again on Australian race tracks given the nature of the deal that saw the cars end up back overseas.

Perhaps one day the gang at Cyan Racing or Volvo can fire one up and take it out for a few laps – maybe Goodwood might be the sort of place for one to have a run sometime? Perhaps stick a Volvo legend like Rickard Rydell behind the wheel – that would be cool!

But we have the memories of what those cars did in Australia – they form a brief, but important, part of V8 Supercar racing history.

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.