Not to continue striking a deceased equine, but the V8 Supercar series is currently one of the most exciting and intense racing series on the planet. Granted, reigning champion Jamie Whincup seems to have attained Sebastian Vettel or Jimmie Johnson levels of dominance with regard to title acquisition and defense, but for the past few years, he has by no means been the automatic favorite to win week-to-week. This was particularly true last year, when the series switched to the Car of the Future (now known as the New Generation V8 Supercar) spec-chassis formula.
Another noteworthy change that came hand-in-hand with the switch to the Car of the Future was two new manufacturers joining the previous Ford and Holden duopoly: Nissan (with the new-to-Australia Altima) and a pseudo-works Mercedes-Benz AMG program (represented by the E63 AMG). And for 2014, there’s yet another automaker joining the fray in the form of Volvo. And with just a couple weeks left before the season-opening Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide, the Swedish brand and the team with which it has partnered – Garry Rogers Motorsport – has revealed its new challenger.
The bodywork is patterned after that of the production S60, meaning the styling features lots of rounded edges and a sweeping, coupe-like roofline. Notable changes for the race version include a big front splitter and a big rear wing perched on the very trailing edge of the decklid. The logos of longtime GRM backer Valvoline dominate the cars’ flanks, and look rather handsome against the signature light blue of the Volvo factory’s tuner-of-record, Polestar, whose involvement in this program can be found under the hood.
Starting with the Yamaha-sourced 4.4L V8 that was available in Volvo’s S80 and XC90 between 2006 and 2010 (V8 Supercars rules require a manufacturer to use either a production block that was used by the same manufacturer in one of its production cars and/or trucks, or a generic V8 selected by the series.), Polestar increases the displacement to the maximum-allotted 5.0L and makes other key modifications (including fitting eight individual throttlebodies capped by carbon fiber velocity stacks). The result is something in the neighborhood of 650 horsepower; that number would probably be a bit higher if V8 Supercar rules didn’t limit all five companies’ engines to 7,500 rpm. Power is transmitted rearward to a spec 6-speed sequential transaxle.
Volvo says its two drivers – New Zealander Scott McLaughlin and series newcomer Robert Dahlgren of (Surprise!) Sweden – should be able to reach 62 mph from a standing start in 3.2 seconds and max out at over 185 mph. We predict the program will go through quite a few teething troubles early on (due in no small part to the fact it encompasses just two cars), but as the dog days of winter (The seasons Down Under are the opposite of ours, remember.) wear on, who knows? Maybe teams will be lining up to sign with Volvo for 2015. Of course, if they were basing their decisions on engine sound, they already would have. Don’t believe us? Take a listen in the first video below.
Sources: Volvo, Polestar