Interview with Volvo Motorsport boss Derek Crabb

TouringCarTimes interviewed Volvo Motorsport boss Derek Crabb regarding the plans and future for Volvo in touring car racing.

TcT: Hello Derek Crabb, where are you at the moment?

“In my office in Gothenburg, in and out of meetings balancing my two jobs, Powertrain Development and Motorsport. We are nearing completion of a whole new family of both petrol and diesel engines we call VEA, and at the same time preparing our biggest ever effort in motorsport in our home market in Sweden.”

TcT: First question, with a completed first development season in the WTCC 2011, are you happy with the results?

“Yes, more than happy. We knew going in to the season that we would only have one car, I mean one chance in qualifying, no flat underbody panels, no previous data, and start with a naturally aspirated engine. So we were not surprised when we were a second off pace at the premiere in Curitiba. But we did get a bit surprised how quick and flawless our new VEA 1.6 liter turbo race engine was developed and introduced. Topping the charts in initial qualifying at the finale in Macau was also a surprise and a testament on how hard and well our team Polestar worked throughout the season.”

TcT: Next and obvious question, will you enter an official team in WTCC 2012, can you tell us anything today?

“Yes I can. We will not be stepping up and entering an official team in WTCC in 2012. We are more than happy with the series as a whole. Even though it is a relatively young world championship compared to F1 and WRC, it has a very good exposure and growth, both geographically with the race calendar and with TV distribution. However, during the latter part of last year and based on strong push from our markets, we decided to shift our attention in Motorsport to the larger platform and the S60. This is a car we do not have developed in the S2000 regulation used in the WTCC. So in short, a very good championship, but we don’t have a car for it in 2012.”

TcT: Does this mean you are developing an S60 for WTCC for 2013?

“It is not quite that simple. The S60 is a car that has different market competitors than the cars and models coming to the grid in WTCC in 2012 and 2013. We must decide if we still want to use the S60 regardless of the competitors on the track, or re-evaluate the S60 as our primary global race car in favor for a smaller five-door type car as the trend in WTCC is progressing at the moment. At the moment we have stopped further development on our S2000 C30 and we have also ruled out other alternative regulations like the NGTC.”

TcT: Back to 2012, what is hottest on your Motorsport agenda for this year?

“We are making a massive effort to support and help develop a new home market championship, TTA – Elite Racing Series, where sporting fairness, exciting races, and local importer accessibility will be key factors. We will race four S60 cars with Polestar through to 2015. Our activities in Sweden are very important to us, partly because it is a critical market for us, but also because it is the backbone of our motorsport infrastructure, similar like DTM is for some brands.”