Volvo reckons team structure defeated Honda in 2017 WTCC

Polestar head of motorsport Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin says Volvo's organisation compared to World Touring Car Championship rival Honda was vital to its 2017 title success

Volvo reckons team structure defeated Honda in 2017 WTCC

Volvo ran Thed Bjork to the final WTCC drivers' title and also beat Honda to the manufacturers' crown in its second year since it returned to top level competition.

The Polestar-run squad started life as Flash Engineering in 1996, working alongside Volvo, before Jan Nielsen's outfit was bought out completely by Christian Dahl in '04 and renamed Polestar for '05.

A year later the company moved to Gothenburg, became Volvo's performance partner in 2009 and in '15 Polestar's performance arm was bought out by the manufacturer, with the racing team retaining factory links by becoming a partner of the new purchase.

Honda's WTCC effort was run by Italian outfit JAS Motorsport, which also constructed its Civics, while its engines were developed at Honda's R&D facility in Japan and engineered by Mugen in Milton Keynes.

"Why we won it, I would like to credit mostly because we had everything under one roof," Murdzevski Schedvin told Autosport.

"William [de Braekeleer, Honda Europe motorsport manager] had engines being built in Japan, rebuilt in the UK, then an Italian team doing the chassis and a number of engineers coming to races - they speak 15 languages in the paddock and nobody understands anything.

"This is our strong point - everything under one roof. No one can point fingers at anyone, they just get on and do their job.

"We want to have an exclusive partnership, no other manufacturers or no customers, and be close to an industrial system so you can pick the brains of whatever's available for R&D on a racing car, but stay away from the systems which are not really designed for race car development.

"We showed that this year, and that was one of the biggest contributors to our success."

Murdzevski Schedvin said his squad had accelerated its title push after a better than expected debut season in 2016 and amid fears about the championship's future.

"For the first season we were actually quite beyond where we wanted to be in terms of competitiveness," he said. "We were almost there at the premiere.

"Second we realised early on that we had Citroen with a current car, which decided not to continue, Lada with a current car for sale, decided not to continue, Honda with a year-old car, and it was us [left] - and the Chevrolet.

"We figured if we don't get a new entry for '18, it might be difficult to have an official manufacturers' title.

"On top of that, when you're in a lot of meetings and long-term strategy planning with the FIA and different organisers you realise, 'Where is this heading as a championship?'

"We realised if we want to do it [win the title] in a way that we can look back with a strong sense of pride and credit from fans and media, 2017 we have to go all in."

shares
comments
WTCR's 26-car limit is protect 'quality' says series chief Ribeiro

Previous article

WTCR's 26-car limit is protect 'quality' says series chief Ribeiro

Next article

Honda responds to Volvo WTCC organisation claims

Honda responds to Volvo WTCC organisation claims
Load comments

About this article

Series WTCC
Author Jack Cozens
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014