Home advantage worked for Volvo at the Gothenburg City Arena in Sweden last weekend. In front of a boisterous hometown crowd, Volvo cleaned up in the finale of the TTA (Touring Car Team Association) Racing Elite League 2012. But the racecars weren’t the only Volvos making a big impression at the track: three Volvo Construction Equipment machines were right in the thick of things, making sure the race went off without a hitch.
In the sensory overload of the TTA (Touring Car Team Association) Racing Elite League 2012 finale — between the roaring engines, the pungent smell of tortured rubber, and the flash of dozens of high-performing cars blazing past the grandstands at 230 km/h (143 mph) — it might have been easy to overlook the Volvo brand’s other top performers at the racetrack – its team of construction equipment.
Swecon, Volvo Construction Equipment’s dealer in Sweden, sponsors the TTA and provides the race series with three Volvo L70G wheel loaders — two painted black to match the cars on the Volvo Polestar Black R team and one in the traditional Volvo CE yellow. The wheel loaders work at the racetrack for a week, preparing the track by moving heavy objects, as well as sweeping rubber and debris from the asphalt at the end of the race. It’s their job to get damaged vehicles off the track quickly and safely — using a rescue platform or craning attachment, depending on the location of the accident and the type of damage sustained, to whisk the cars away.
“Having our machines in a prominent place on the track reminds spectators that the Volvo brand is present in the construction equipment industry as well as the car business,” says Fredrik Rigo, market communications manager at Swecon. “Although Volvo Cars is now a separate company from the rest of Volvo Group, we can still use one another’s strengths to promote our shared brand values and to work across business lines to reach all new customer groups.
“Raising awareness is good for bringing in new customers, of course, but it’s also helpful for recruitment. Young people don’t always consider jobs in the construction equipment industry. But if they get into Volvo cars by watching the races, they’ll see that Volvo CE is also an exciting part of the Volvo brand.”
A Volvo grand slam
There was plenty of excitement on the Gothenburg track for the finale of the 2012 TTA drivers’ championship. Thanks to a stellar season, Volvo Polestar Racing driver Fredrik Ekblom was all but assured of first place — going into the race, he needed just one more point to win. Holding off the challenger Linus Ohlsson of Team Tido/PWR Racing — who threatened to take the drivers’ championship at the tender age of 21 — Ekblom clinched the title with a strong third place finish in the qualifying round.
Then it was a battle for second place, as Ekblom’s teammate, Thed Bjork, starting in pole position, managed to hold off Ohlsson and the rest of the pack in the 40-minute final, maintaining a comfortable lead in a Volvo S60 as blue as the Swedish flag.
“Absolutely wonderful!” Ekblom raved. “Everything has worked so well all season. Volvo and everyone on the team have done a fantastic job. I could not be more happy or proud right now.”
And with that, Polestar — which collaborates with Volvo in motorsport, in addition to providing optimization services for Volvo passenger car customers — capped off an enviable season by completing a grand slam. Besides Ekblom’s drivers’ championship, Bjork and Ekblom sealed a team championship for Volvo Polestar Racing. And with Polestar’s other TTA team, Volvo Polestar Black R, coming in fourth overall in the team rankings, Volvo took home the manufacturer’s championship as well.
“To win all three of these championships in Gothenburg is just spectacular,” says Derek Crabb, the executive director of Volvo Car Corporation Motorsport. “It’s the equivalent of winning the World Cup at home — in the world of motorsport racing, anyway.”