Monday, Jul 4 07:05pm
AUTHOR: Matthew Hansen

Volvo S40 super touring car with star-studded history coming to NZ

The amount of international super touring cars that reside in New Zealand is set to grow by one, with the recent acquiring of a former factory-backed Volvo S40. 


The car has been purchased by Lindsay O'Donnell. He and nephew Scott O'Donnell already own three historically significant super touring cars — a Benson & Hedges BMW E36 318, and a pair of Ford Mondeos. Both men and two of their cars are currently in England, having competed in a historic event at Brands Hatch last weekend with one more event at Silverstone to come later this month.


The Volvo's history spans three different countries. understands that the R7-004 chassis was first used by Kelvin Burt in the 1997 British Touring Car Championship; helping Burt finishing 10th in the championship standings. 




The S40 pictured with Lindsay O'Donnell's other super touring car. Photo: Peter Still, PSP Images


The car was then loaned to Volvo Dealer Racing Australia, and used by New Zealander Jim Richards in the 1998 Australian Super Touring Championship. Against the might of Audi's two-car factory effort for Brad Jones and Cameron McConville, the front-wheel drive Volvo often found itself under-gunned. Richards did manage to win two races and claim eight podiums over the course of the season.


With Richards moving onto a different chassis for the 1999 season, this car was shared between Mark Adderton, Mark Williamson, and Cameron McLean. At the end of the season it was shared between Kiwi Craig Baird and Matt Coleman at the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 500, finishing third behind the leading Richards/McLean Volvo, and a notable privateer solo-driver effort from the winner, Paul Morris. 




Photo: Peter Still, PSP Images


By this stage, factory backing of most international super touring championships — including the Australian and British categories — had begun to unwind. And after the 1999 season, Audi and Volvo pulled their funding from the poorly supported Australian series and the ex-Richards' S40 travelled back to Sweden for 2000.


It was raced in the 2001 Swedish Touring Car Championship by Frederik Sundberg, fading into obscurity at the end of the season to be run as a promotional car with SportPromotion. It only returned to the race track in a competitive capacity this year to compete in the HSCC Super Touring Challenge with former Kiwi Formula 5000 ace Michael Lyons. 




Photo: Peter Still, PSP Images


One of 12 S40 chassis built by Volvo, it's believed that it's going to be the only one residing in Australasia. O'Donnell is reportedly most likely to restore the car to its 1998 Jim Richards Australian Super Touring Championship livery.


It's already known that numerous Ford Mondeo and BMW E36 chassis' live in New Zealand, as well as a Toyota Corolla and Carina, but it's understood that several more are hidden away — including a Peugeot 406 and Renault Laguna. 

Photos: Peter Still, PSP Images