*THROWBACK THURSDAY* As the company begins preparations for a return to touring car competition next year, we take a look at Volvo’s last season of European Touring Car Championship competition in 1986.
So, despite a claim from marketing director Alan Visser that ‘motorsport does not conform to [its] brand’, Volvo has confirmed a full campaign in the World Touring Car Championship in 2016, an announcement that arrived 30 years after arguably the brand’s greatest motor racing triumph.
Most tin top fans are quick to cite the Tom Walkinshaw-prepared 850 of British Touring Car fame, but it was actually the 240 Turbo that achieved title glory, securing both the European Touring Car Championship with Thomas Lindström and Gianfranco Brancatelli, and the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft with Per Strureson in the same year. Though this was hardly a cakewalk. Amongst ’s toughest ETCC competitors were the Rover 3500s (that man Walkinshaw again) and Schnitzer-prepped BMWs, the former of which won all but two of the races it finished. Indeed, a mixture of bad tyre wear and power issues meant Volvo was not even on the ETCC board until the second race and didn’t top the podium until the fourth race in Anderstorp. Strureson meanwhile had already secured his first (and only) win of the season, a further five podiums taking him to the crown with a round to spare.
Behind the ETCC scenes though was where the real trouble lay for the 240 Turbo. Despite homologation requirements for Group A touring cars stipulating that 500 road-going models of ‘the flying brick’ be produced, Volvo complied, only to strip 95 per cent of them and ship them to the USA. The FIA came hunting, ban in-hand, and it was some months before the debacle was put to bed, Volvo’s on-track rivals less then impressed.
Now, you would have thought that with all that to work with (plus cameos from Grand Prix winner Gerhard Berger, former Dakar Rally winner Jean-Louis Schlesser and Formula 1 track builder Hermann Tilke), videos from the ’85 ETCC season would be easy to find. Actually no, so instead we bring you a review of that year’s Spa 24 Hours and a round-up of the 240 Turbo’s final year of tin top competition in 1986.
Source – BowdensOwn and EyvindL