I was one of those “unlucky” kids who grew up with my Dad, always owning a Volvo. That’s right… an Australian kid growing up in the 80s and 90s and not a Ford or Holden in sight. I could only be glad that we didn’t own a Dalmatian or have a bowler hat on the rear shelf of the car. When the discussion about what car your family owned came up, I would simply respond with, “yeah, but my Dad’s car could drive through a brick wall and keep going unscathed.”
Fast forward to V8 Supercars in 2014 where Volvo, along with their performance arm Polestar, have joined the new look V8 Supercar championship via a partnership with longtime team owner Garry Rogers. An international driver has been brought into the fold with Volvo backed Swede Robert Dahlgren signing up as the driver, alongside promising young gun Scott McLaughlin. Valvoline have stepped up to once again becoming the naming rights sponsor of the team.
With Volvo entering the championship, this brings the number of manufacturers to 5, having had Nissan and Erebus AMG (Mercedes) join Ford and Holden in 2013.
For the first time in many years the championship only leaves Australian shores for one round in New Zealand (Pukekohe, Auckland) in what has been described as a rebuilding year. The series will visit all states and the Northern Territory, including revisiting the Sydney Motorsport Park (SMP) precinct in August. SMP is also where the season kicks off with the fan friendly test day on February 15th.
Looking ahead to season 2014, who do you think will bring home the driver and team championships? Last year, with the brand new “car of the future”, Triple 8 (Red Bull Racing) again proved their dominance by taking out the championship with Jamie Whincup finishing first and perennial crowd favourite Craig Lowndes in 2nd spot.
Can Nissan, who won a race at Winton last year, be in contention for the win? With Erebus downsizing from three to two AMGs in season 2014 and bringing in the very experienced Will Davison, does this give them the focus they need to win? Or will the traditional front runners Ford and Holden, with their years of experience racing in the category, keep filling the top step of the podium?
All I know is, I wish I was back in school and getting dropped off by Dad in a Volvo V8 Supercar!