September 20, 2018
20th anniversary of epic Volvo win
When Volvo Cars decided to go into touring car racing in 1994, Rickard Rydell was an obvious choice to drive one of the 850 racing estates. The Swede, born in 1967, had proven his abilities in Formula 3 and at Le Mans 24 h.
The season of 1998 was the fifth for the Volvo/TWR team in BTCC, which, together with the German touring car championship, was the toughest and most competitive touring car series in the world.
In the previous year, Volvo Cars had switched to the smaller and more nimble S40 sedan, finishing 4th overall. Now, it was time to go for a win.
"It is unusual to win the first season with a new car, but for 1998 we had refined the car and had a clear goal to win the championship", says Rickard Rydell. "And when I won the first race, I understood it was possible."
Five months later, on 20 September, it was time for the final race weekend, at the classic British racing ground: Silverstone. Rickard Rydell needed just a few more points to become the champion, and when he finished third in the race, it was clear that he had made it: he had won the championship, and in doing so, won one of the biggest achievements in Volvos’ motorsport history.
"It was a fantastic feeling and the highlight of my racing career", says Rickard Rydell. He has now ended his racing career, and divides his time between the family flower business and commenting motorsport for Viasat.
Tucked up in his garage sits the winning S40 from 20 years ago, reminding Rickard, and Volvo Cars, that the glory days are never far away.
Rickard Rydell's epic win in the British Touring Car Championship 1998.