F1-Inspired Volvo Time Attack Monster

It would be a massive understatement to describe Peter as a perfectionist, since what he’s capable of crafting borders on manically obsessive. Plus, he has the technical wherewithal to bring some pretty outlandish visions to reality. In most minds, never does a subdued Volvo 360 mix with genuine racing technology, but this unique creation brings those two together with plenty of flair and bonafide Formula 1 parts.

It’s hard to fathom this build started so humbly and became something so outrageous.

Though this machine was a mere ’88 Volvo 360 powered by a Volvo B230 engine seven years ago, after a few years of intensive development, it now resembles either a fully-fledged DTM racer or a Group B rally monster, though those comparisons might even sell it short—it’s more Formula 1 than DTM or rally. The original 278 horsepower provided by the turbocharged B230 engine provided some smiles for a while, but soon, Peter set the first steps towards pavement-churning power into motion.

At ten pounds of boost, the 278 horsepower and 310 lb-ft was satisfactory for a short while, but he would need more.

Eventually, Peter decided to rebuild the motor and turn it into a twin-charged monster reminiscent of some of the absurd powerplants seen in Group B rallying. First, he fitted a dry-sumped B230 with Parner pistons and SPM rods, then overhauled the head entirely. A gloss-top B234 unit with welded intake ducts, 36mm stainless steel intake valves, 34mm stainless steel exhaust valves, and titanium spring washers would provide most of the flow capability he was after. ARP bolts came next, and then he topped it all off with an enormous Garrett GT4202R turbocharger—complete with a genuine Formula 1 turbo manifold and a 44mm Tial wastegate. For the full whooshing, popping, and crackling a 600-horsepower turbo engine should have, Peter installed a percussive Tial 50mm dump valve.

The massive Garrett turbo setup dwarfs even the motor.

Since the 2.8-liter engine wouldn’t be able to easily spool that massive snail—ball bearings or not—Peter went ahead and added an Eaton M-112 supercharger out of a Jaguar V8 to provide 10 pounds of boost and some low-end torque. With the peak power output, the form of induction, and the size of the motor, this powerplant really was an homage to the Group B screamers.

For a broad, accessible powerband, Peter decided to twin-charge the B230.

On E85, the twin-charged motor made 603 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque at the wheels at 21 pounds of boost. Though it is fairly peaky for a heavily turbocharged four cylinder, the delivery is softened somewhat by the Eaton supercharger, and the broader powerband makes the motor much more usable on the track.

Peaky but progressive considering the size of the snail.

Despite the monumental amounts of power this engine could chuck out, it was meant to be part of a rocket that could stop and corner just as well, if not better. The complicated engine and all the ancillaries added plenty of heft over the front axle, and Peter wanted perfect weight distribution. Therefore, he mounted the driver’s seat in the middle of the car and extended the steering wheel like a real touring car to bring the driver back into the center of the car. To further distribute that weight a little more evenly, he mounted the battery and catch cans in the rear.

After the weight was spread evenly over all four tires, he made sure those tires were making the right sort of contact with the pavement. Using old pushrods and tierods from a vintage Formula 1 car, he designed his own carriers and devised a double wishbone setup to replace the limited MacPherson setup the Volvo came with from the factory. The uprights and connectors were forged from titanium, too.

Top-tier racing technology in a vintage Volvo.

Turning his attention to the footwork department, Peter picked out a set of BBS wheels which measure 12.4″ wide and 13″ tall. For those beginning to see the development of a Formula 1-inspired theme here, they won’t be surprised to learn those are from a V10-era Jaguar F1 car!

Inside them sit modified Volvo S80 hubs and a set of compact, F1-sourced AP six-piston calipers, complete with caliper-mounted thermometers and ceramic rotors. In the rear: a pair of Brembo big brakes with ceramic rotors. Not only would this footwork put enough rubber on the road to harness the 600-odd horsepower, but without much unsprung weight, it would provide great compliance.

Peter then removed any superfluous brackets and pulled sixty pounds out of the body which he coated in black. Later, he would add his own John Player-styled graphics, but the menacing paint scheme would have to do for the rest of the build.

Simple from afar, but a closer inspection reveals some serious hardware.

Then came time for overfenders, bodywork, a huge front splitter, and a massive rear wing. The aero package was taking shape, but being F1-inspired and all, Peter made a few calls around and grabbed an old Jordan F1 car’s floor for serious downforce. The carbon floor was mounted with hard points so that it could be lifted by the jack in future. Sometimes it’s the little pieces like hard mounts, among a long list of incredible upgrades, that pop out the most.

Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe the combination of an F1 floor and a Volvo 360.

Inside, Peter mounted a set of diamond-plate aluminum plates and a Tilton adjustable pedal box to reach the driver sitting behind the b-pillar. For a little more feel through the pedals, he added Wilwood brake cylinders and Brembo reservoirs. Of course, the dash is quite spartan and there’s little there but a custom carbon fiber overlay. Without many dash-mounted gauges, Peter gets the majority of the pertinent information through an F1-inspired steering wheel.

The simplistic interior is contrasted by the complicated supercomputer of a steering wheel.

With a Sparco seat, a few gold accents decorating the car’s minimalist exterior, a set of Avon slicks, Peter set off to the track to impress. Some would find it confusing, others would be mesmerized, but nobody would deride such an impressive collection of parts and such a unique racing car.

Photo credit: Volvo Racing Club Finland


About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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