April 12, 2002
Volvo unveils S60 ETCC race car
Volvo Cars has unveiled its S60 Super 2000 car which will compete in this year’s European Touring Car Championship (ETCC).
Volvo will be running two cars in 2002. The first will be driven by the
experienced Swede and former British Touring Car champion, Rickard Rydell.
James Hanson, the young British driver who competed in the ETCC Super
Production series last year in an Edenbridge-prepared BMW, will pilot the
second car. Despite Rydell’s relative seniority and experience, both
drivers will have equal equipment and status in the team.
The car, which has been developed by the British company Prodrive, will see
Volvo’s return to the ETCC where it successfully competed in the 1980s with
the 240 Turbo, beating much larger cars like the Rover 3500 V8 and Jaguar
XJ12. During the 1990s, Volvo participated in the British Touring Car
Championship with its 850 and S40 models, clinching the championship in
1998 for Rydell. Since 1999, Volvo has not participated in international
touring car racing, but is now focusing on the new FIA European
Championship with the new Super 2000 rules.
Prodrive has been working on the development of the new car since early
last year and the first prototype ran in August. However, a late
ratification of the rules forced a complete redesign of the engine, gearbox
and suspension, significantly reducing the time available to develop the car.
The front-wheel-drive Volvos will be competing against seven Alfa Romeo
156s, eight BMW 320s as well as some privately entered Nissan Primeras and
Honda Civics. The rear-wheel-drive BMWs should have a distinct advantage
pulling away from the grid start and exiting slow corners. However, the
30kg weight penalty for rear wheel drive should help compensate for this,
but tire wear on the front wheel drive cars could be an issue towards the
end of the races.
Volvo’s motorsport director, Olle Odsell, believes this year’s championship
will be very open. “There are at least 10 drivers who are capable of
winning this year’s championship,” said Odsell. “However, because of the
lack of head-to-head tests to date, with what will be the final
specification of cars, it won’t be until we get to the first race at Magny
Cours that we will know exactly where our cars and drivers stand against
2002 ETCC program:
- April 21 France Magny Cours
- May 5 UK Silverstone
- May 19 Czech Republic Brno
- June 2 Spain Jarama
- June 30 Sweden Anderstorp
- July 14 Germany Oschersleben
- August 3 Belgium Spa
- Sept 22 Italy Pergusa
- October 6 UK Donington Park