Volvo and the 240T Grp. A car, a brilliant story in the Touring Car history. Not only did the Volvo or should we say, the “Flying Brick” take the 1985 European Touring Car Championship and Deutsche Produktionswagen Meisterchaft (The pre-DTM) but it also tricked the opposition and the then called FISA regarding homologation numbers.
The Volvo 240T Grp. A story started in 1982 with the Volvo Turbo Cup, a series of six events, held in Sweden and open to all Volvo 242 and 244 from 1975 onwards and fitted with the the B21-A engine and Volvo-R Sport Performance kit. Seventeen cars showed up for the first event held at Mantorp Park. It proved spectacular and effective in terms of marketing for Volvo as a well-subscribed grid. With famous drivers getting in the series such as Picko Tröberg and Per-Gunnar “Peggen” Andersson amongst others and battling the younger ones, it just became what Volvo had waited for..! 1982 would see Bôrje Thor take the title and 1983 would be for Ulf Granberg, a man we would see again…
The idea of getting the Volvo 240T to race at international level soon came to mind in the Volvo headquarters. Others were racing the car as with the Volvo France supported private effort in the 1982 “Production” championship using the Grp. 1+/1B rules and ran through the Danielson team based in Magny-Cours. Back in Sweden, the Lindström family was also looking at the idea and particularly at the Grp. A regulations and the then highly successful European Touring Car Championship. 1983 came and two teams went to the ETCC, the Lindström family with their black Volvo 240T and Ingemar Persson with another, as a private effort, it was worth it but not very strong in terms of speed… But Volvo R-Sport was on it..!
1983 would be a development year, Volvo wasn’t officially involved as a manufacturer and the privateers just went racing with parts being supplied through the sport department. The point was all about datas, in order to get everything right if there was to be a factory official effort, Volvo wanted to know all about it. And it looked very good ! Different factory backed team were put together for 1984 and focusing on the ETCC as well as the DPM they looked very strong and as always they were collecting datas again but with this time some strong finishes and showing.
Winter of 1984 saw Volvo sign a contract with Rudi Eggenberger, the famous Swiss and BMW preparer who saw something behind the flying brick. 1985 would be a full factory backed effort named the “Volvo Dealer Team” with Swedish drivers and team members being thrown in to master the 1985 ETCC but also the DPM again which of course, they did by taking both titles..! Back in 1984 the Volvo was fast and showing some strong performance, something to watch as the others would have said. But who would have thought that by 1985, the car would be leading the races and winning ?! Well no one did except maybe the Eggenberger team.
Unfortunately it proved too much… and again, as much as in 1983 the paddock talks started again, the Volvo was being questioned regarding its homologation of the evolution version. Yes, to win the championship, Volvo had supposedly homologated an evolution roadgoing version with rear spoiler, flat bonnet, intercooler, water injection and other tricks which were featured on the race version. But again, 500 cars were needed to get through that and only 23 were ever seen when inspection by the FISA was done. Yes, the other 477 cars went straight to the American market as it was said but then, equipment were taken off as the cars were sold as regular 240T roadcars… It didn’t look good for Volvo and in 1985 when the FISA looked to buy an Evolution version around Europe and couldn’t find any, they simply ended the homologation for the 1st of September 1985. Eventually Volvo would trace some cars sold in Sweden, funny..! And that ban would be lifted.
Problems at Volvo regarding all those politics as well as some troubles with Eggenberger would see the end of its first factory team. The Volvos would however continue to perform in the ETCC series through the RAS Sports Belgian team with factory support tied up through a strong contract. It would prove effective again with a near title in 1986 but again, the Volvos were questioned and disqualified… It proved too much and the factory quitted at the end of the season. However, they still won the Australian Touring Car Championship that year. The flying brick would continue to shine but this time in privateers hands and through the national championships mainly… By the way, if the Luna Sportpromotion car that runs in historic wins the 2015 Heritage Touring Cup this year, it will be 30 years since the first title for the model, fingers crossed !
1985 ETCC – Thomas Lindström – Volvo 240 Turbo (289 point)
1985 ETCC – Gianfranco “Branca” Brancatelli – Volvo 240 Turbo (289 point)
1985 DTM – Per Stureson – Volvo 240 Turbo (117,5 point)
1986 ATCC – Robbie Francevic – Volvo 240 Turbo (217 point)
|Milestones in Group A for Volvo|
Volvo introduce their new model: The Volvo 244 Turbo.
|1982||The Volvo Turbo Cup launches for Volvo 244/242 turbo. Greger Petersson, Anders Olofsson and Peggen Andersson goes to Silverstone in England to test their Volvo 242 Turbo.|
|1983||Thomas Lindström and his father Tage Lindström was the first to build a Volvo 242 Turbo Group-A car, and the first Volvo team to compete at an international level.Thomas Lindström wins the Nordic Championship 1983. Volvo presents the new Volvo 242 Turbo Evolution model manufactured for the US market, 500 cars was produced to meet the regulations that Group-A required. All these Evolution cars was exported to the United States.|
|1984||Volvo 240 turbo shows real potential, Swedes Ulf Granberg and Robert L. Kvist becomes the first drivers in a Volvo 240 Turbo to take home a victory in the ETC (also first time for a turbo aspirated car to win a ETC-race) and Per Stureson becomes first driver in a Volvo 240 Turbo to take a victory in the German DTM series. Four teams in the ETC, Volvo Belgium Dealers Team, TL Racing, Luna/Sportpromotion and IPS Motorsport.|
|1985||Volvo goes all the way and launches their factory team, Volvo Europé Dealer Team. It is a success and Volvo wins the European Championship (ETC) with the Swiss RudiEggenberger as team manager.IPS Motorsport, with Per Stureson as driver, wins the German Championship (DTM).|
|1986||Volvo once again start as a factory team in the Touring Car Championship (ETC changed name in 1986 to TCC), now under new management with Belgian RAS Sports (Ring Auto Sport). But did not go all the way due to some disqualified races. Australian Volvo Dealer Team (AVDT) wins the Australian Touring Car Championship with Robbie Francevic. Volvo officially leaves Group-A and the racing world, and the time is over for the factory teams, Volvo recalls all factory cars back to Sweden.|
|1987||Hans-Åke Söderqvist (former employee of Volvo Motorsport) continues to race with the Volvo 240 Turbo, both in Sweden and at a international level. The team SöderqvistRacing Sport (SRS) is formed. Peggen Andersson leaves the Swedish racing scene and goes to Asia to continues to compete successfully in a Volvo 240 Turbo, now as a factory driver. Victory in Malaysia for Peggen. Leif Wiik buys RAS car #2 (#604) from Volvo Motorsport.|
|1988||Peggen Anderson continues his victory suite in a Volvo 240 Turbo in Asia with the ZepSpeed team. Overall victory in Thailand. Hans-Åke Söderqvist (SRS) also continues to race the Volvo cars.|
|1989||Few Volvo left in the various lines around the world.|
|1990||Competing with Volvo 240 Turbo decreases SLOWLY. The Volvo Motorsport Department (VMS) is closed and development stops and VMS sells the remaining spare parts to Leif Wiik in Finland.|
Source – 240grupp-a