Volvo withdraws from BTCC
Volvo Car Corporation has announced that it will withdraw from the British Touring Car Championship at the end of the 1999 season when its contract with TWR expires at the end of this year. The six year racing partnership between Volvo and TWR, spanning three Volvo models, and using the distinctive sounding TWR developed five cylinder engine throughout, has netted 18 wins, 65 podiums, 20 fastest laps and the coveted Drivers' title in the World's most competitive Super Touring series. After approaching TWR at the end of 1993, Volvo Car Corporation entered the BTCC with the media grabbing 850 Estate in 1994, and went on to enjoy recognition as a serious contender in top-level motor sport. In 1995 the TWR designed and engineered 850 Saloon took third in the Manufacturers' Championship, an achievement repeated the following year, but this time as the leading front-wheel drive car in the series. In 1997, the all-new Volvo S40 took its maiden victory at Brands Hatch with driver Rickard Rydell at the wheel. The following year, Rydell took 17 podiums and five wins, to take the BTCC Drivers' title and with Jim Richards, the prestigious Bathurst 1000km race in only the S40's second year of competition. TWR Racing and Volvo Car Corporation's relationship marks one of the most successful and enduring in motor sport. Apart from their many accolades on track, TWR and Volvo are also closely linked with road-car design, engineering and production including the C70 coupe and convertible. Volvo's Head of Motorsport, Thomas Lindskog; "Volvo has had a very successful six years in the BTCC and we are delighted with the results our racing team has achieved under TWR's leadership during these years. "Decisions regarding Volvo's future motor sport activities will be taken in consultation with the Ford Motor Company recognising its role within the brand portfolio although Volvo Sweden's participation in the Swedish Touring Car Championship with ex-BTCC cars will continue." Volvo Car UK's Director of PR, John Lefley; "From the decision to start racing with the Volvo 850 Estate car in 1994 and the resultant publicity, to Rickard Rydell's Championship win in 1998 with the Volvo S40, racing has been an essential element of Volvo's marketing strategy. "The BTCC has been very important in changing the perception of Volvo, and we feel that Volvo has added a new and innovative approach to its BTCC marketing exploitation, but now it's time to move on. We have an exciting programme of new model introductions ahead of us and we feel we can use our budgets more effectively in other areas to promote the brand." TWR Chairman and Chief Executive, Tom Walkinshaw, "Racing with Volvo for the past six years has been a very fulfilling and rewarding relationship. We could not have achieved the results that we have without the valuable support of the whole of Volvo Car Corporation and its employees."