Positive meetings with Volvo power brokers in Sweden over the off-season has Garry Rogers convinced that his squad will retain its factory backing in 2017.
The V8 Supercars Championship will kick-off in Adelaide this weekend without any manufacturers having publicly committed to the category beyond the end of the season.
Holden, which currently backs the Holden Racing Team and Triple Eight, is expected to continue in some form, while Nissan’s future hangs in the balance as it weighs up its GT racing options.
Ford officially ended its involvement last year, but continues to retain a minor presence on the DJR Team Penske Fords thanks to a licensing deal organised through the company’s American headquarters.
While Volvo Australia is yet to announce its plans for 2017, Rogers is adamant that a new deal for his squad to continue with factory support is a good as done.
The current agreement includes a supply of 5.0 litre V8 engines from Christian Dahl’s Cyan Racing in Sweden, which was last year separated from the now Volvo-owned Polestar road car business.
“From every indication I’ve had from Kevin McCann (Volvo Australia MD), the Polestar guys and the Cyan guys from our meetings in Europe, I couldn’t see anything changing,” Rogers told Speedcafe.com.
“They’ve told me that they want to renew and we’ve spoken about timelines and that so we can make our plans.
“I would be extremely, extremely surprised if there were any changes.”
Rogers admits that the possibility of switching to a four-cylinder turbocharged Polestar engine under the new Gen2 rules has been discussed, but isn’t a short term priority.
All manufacturers currently look like sticking with their 5.0 litre V8s next year as V8 Supercars continues its own Gen2 development program.
“It has been discussed but is highly unlikely in the short term,” said Rogers of switching away from the V8.
“There’s no reason to change because what we’ve got works. We’d be silly not to use our current engines.
“The four-cylinder turbo stuff will eventually happen, but I think we’re still a fair way away from that.”
Volvo’s V8 was an immediate pace-setter when it debuted in 2014, but suffered reliability issues last year that hampered the team for much of the season.
Lead driver Scott McLaughlin was, however, a regular front-runner in the latter part of the year, scoring a string of front-row starts and podium finishes.
McLaughlin and new team-mate James Moffat made a low-key start to 2016 at Winton’s pre-season test last week, ending the day 16th and 18th on the timesheets respectively.
“We did what we wanted to do, which was use the test day for testing, rather than roaring around trying to do a lot of laps,” said Rogers of the test.
“We appeared to have gotten over our engine issues at the end of last year and if that’s the case, I’m feeling very confident about the season.
“With a little bit of development that we’ve been able to bring forward, I think we’ll be well in contention.”
The addition of Moffat promises to be a significant boost to the squad, which has seen Robert Dahlgren and David Wall struggle for competitiveness in the second car over recent seasons.