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Volvo bails from V8 Supercars

Race over: After months of speculation, Volvo has confirmed it is pulling out of V8 Supercars.

Polestar will not renew Volvo V8 Supercar contract for 2017 season

4 May 2016

ANOTHER brand has jumped ship from the Australian V8 Supercar racing series, with Volvo's motorsport division Polestar confirming it will not return to the competition in 2017.

The announcement today ends speculation that Polestar’s involvement with the series was not stacking up for Volvo Car Australia, which has failed to see significant sales increases since signing a three-year contract with Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM) from the start of 2014.

Volvo’s exit follows a similar move by Ford at the end of last year.

Mercedes-Benz privateers also dumped their association with AMG for this season, although that relationship had no financial support from Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific.

It appears that there is little chance of the fleet of Volvo S60s returning for the 2017 season under privateer funding, with the supplier of the cars and engines, Sweden's Cyan Racing, confirming it will reclaim its hardware at the end of this year.

The Polestar move leaves Holden and Nissan as the motor industry’s only active motorsport backers in V8 Supercars, although Nissan says it too is weighing up whether it will continue beyond this season.

In April, Nissan Australia managing director Richard Emery told GoAuto that the company was “in the process of deciding what the future plans will be”.

Holden is also reported to be mulling cutting its financial involvement in V8 Supercars, perhaps even dropping high-level support to its favoured Holden Racing Team and concentrating on continued involvement with Red Bull Racing.

Volvo S60 registrations barely moved following the involvement of the Polestar Racing S60 (which shares no underpinnings with the road car), with sales rising from between 40 and 90 per month in 2013, through a peak of 184 mid 2015, before settling back to 75 sold in March this year.

At the end of 2014, Volvo's head office announced it would wind back motorsport funding worldwide, with V8 Supercars most likely impacted.

The “Volvo Way to Market” plan would also allocate less money to activities such as motorsport and motor shows, instead focussing on dealership networks, consumer perception initiatives and online sales.

Announcing the withdrawal from V8 Supercars, Polestar chief operating officer Niels Moller thanked Garry Rogers Motorsport and said the relationship had been enjoyable.

“We have enjoyed a good cooperation with Garry Rogers Motorsport and the championship organisers, but our strategy and business objectives requires us now to focus our attention to other technologies and championships in the near future,” he said.

“We will of course support the program in order to achieve the best possible sporting results in 2016. However, we feel it is fair to all involved that we can provide a heads-up ahead of 2017 as early as possible.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to all involved parties in the program and wish them the very best for the future.”

Polestar – a racing and performance car specialist - was originally owned by Christian Dahl, but he sold it to Volvo last year.

The Australian Volvo V8 Supercars have not carried Polstar logos this year.

According to reports, GRM has been dealing with Dahl’s race team that fields S60s in the Swedish Touring Car Championship.

It is not clear what will become of Volvo’s star race driver Scott McLaughlin in 2017. The young Kiwi gun’s contract with GRM is up at the end of this year, and he is certain to be in hot demand by other teams.

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