240 Turbo in Motorsport
Despite its non-sporting image, the Volvo 240 was a successful competitor in touring car racing in the 1980s. In 1983 Volvo produced 505 evolution version of the 240 Turbo with a larger turbocharger and other performance modifications. All of these special cars were exported to the United States with the special equipment kit in the trunk of each car. 270 of these cars were retrofitted with the special equipment at Long Beach LA and further 230 were simultaneously fitted with the same kit on the East coast at the Volvo Penta facility at Chesapeake Bay. All 500, except for one car which was returned to Sweden, were subsequently stripped of their GpA homologation equipment and sold as standard road cars. Contrary to reports at that time this was entirely legal and approved by the FIA which did not require that the cars had to be sold to the public.
The 240T GpA Factory cars proved a successful competitor, and in 1984 won the Zolder round of the European Touring Car Championship. In Group A racing form, the 240T weighed 1,065 kg (2,348 lb), and its turbocharged 2.1-litre engine produced approximately 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS). Although it was a boxy looking car and lacked the agility of some of its competitors, it was fast in a straight line (approximately 260 km/h (162 mph) on faster circuits such as Monza, Hockenheim and Bathurst) and proved to be reliable. Volvo Motor Sport, VMS, did not run the cars directly, instead contracting the services of established teams to prepare and manage them, on VMS behalf, with technical assistance from VMS.
The Eggenberger Motorsport team was the most successful of these. Late in the 1984 European Touring Car Championship, Swedish team Sportpromotion won the EG Trophy race at Zolder circuit and followed that with second in the 500 km del Mugello. In 1985, Volvo signed Swiss engine guru Reudi Eggenberger to run its works team. Eggenberger Motorsport, with team drivers Gianfranco Brancatelli and Thomas Lindström, won the 1985 ETCC outright, seeing off challenges from BMW (Schnitzer), and defending ETCC champions TWR who were running the V8 engined Rover Vitesse rather than the V12 Jaguar XJS that had dominated 1984 after Jaguar had decided to concentrate on Sports Car racing.
Eggengerger moved to race Ford Sierras in 1986 and Volvo contraced Belgian based team RAS Sport to be its Factory “Works” team in the ETCC, with defending champion Lindström being joined by ex-Formula One and Grand Prix motorcycle racer Johnny Cecotto, as well as Ulf Granberg and Anders Olofsson in the second car. The team was competitive in 1986, taking wins at Hockenheim, Anderstorp, Brno, Österreichring and Zolder. Unfortunately however, the wins at Anderstorp and the Österreichring were taken away from the team due to illegal fuel. The disqualifications would see Lindström unable to defend his title, and Volvo AB quit GpA racing.