Of the five race cars brought in for the inaugural KL City Grand Prix (KLCGP), the Volvo S60 Polestar V8SC was one of the main headliners and we were given the rare opportunity of riding shotgun in it as it charged its way down the streets of Kuala Lumpur at breakneck speed.
Seven Facts About The Volvo S60 Polestar V8SC
- Powered by a Yamaha-designed V8 engine previously used in the Volvo XC90 SUV and S80 sedan, bored to 5.0 litres from 4.4 litres
- Weighs just 1,400kg with the driver
- Uses E85 bio-ethanol fuel and develops 650hp and 649Nm of torque
- Brakes are 6 piston caliper, 395mm ventilated discs at the front and 4 piston caliper, 355mm ventilated discs at the rear.
- Body is made of steel and carbon fibre finished in Polestar blue
- Engine features individual throttle bodies for each of its eight cylinders with carbon fibre velocity stacks
- Suspension setup is double wishbone, adjustable dampers, and cockpit adjustable front anti-roll bar
What’s It Like Inside The Volvo S60 Polestar V8SC?
As impressive as the car is, it is the duty of the driver to extract the maximum amount of performance out of it and this is where the young racing prodigy Scott ‘Scotty’ McLaughlin comes in.
With a very tight schedule at the KLCGP, there were only 20 minutes allocated for this ride around the track and after the first three participants had their go, it was my turn.
Slotting into the temporarily installed passenger seat, I shook hands with the 22 year old before he fired up the V8 and drove towards the pit exit. Once we got there, an official pulled the indemnity form off of the car’s window and signalled the Volvo to have at it.
(Scotty giving the thumbs up before giving another passenger the ride of a lifetime)
From there, it was two seconds of calm before the fury as Scotty wasted no time to show me what his race car can do as the car’s savage acceleration pins me into my seat as we hit around 200km/h passing by Hotel Maya on Jalan Ampang.
As we approach the corner near Renaissance Hotel, Scotty shows off his precise pedal work as he executes perfect heel-and-toe downshifts using all three pedals, while working the sequential shifter before guiding the Volvo down Jalan Sultan Ismail. I found out later that the reason why the clutch pedal is used on the downshifts is to preserve the transmission as the strain shifting up is significantly less than shifting down the gears.
Unlike the driver’s seat, the passenger’s does not include sideguards that prevented my head from bobbing all over the place as you can tell in the video. This meant that the lateral G-forces acting upon my head were very intense and trying to keep your head steady through a corner is a very painful experience. Seating so low in the car, judging the size of it going through a corner seemed like a monumental task but it’s as easy as driving a hatchback for Scotty, threading the car through the narrow streets of KL effortlessly.
Soon, we were already at the chicane just pass Shangri-La Hotel where the experience got even more violent with a quick left-right turning but that didn’t faze Scotty as he rode over the chicane’s apexes with the car bouncing just centimetres from the concrete wall. At the end of the Jalan Sultan Ismail straight, it was a series of two left turns passing Jalan Raja Chulan in the process and a sprint up Jalan Perak where the heat and noise from the V8 engine flooded the cabin.
(A look inside Scott McLaughlin's office)
Rejoining Jalan P. Ramlee, a narrow right chicane near the St. Regis Hotel was easily navigated through before the car enters the pit lane again.
Getting out the car certainly wasn’t easy after an experience such as this. The Volvo S60 Polestar V8SC is a violent beast of a race car and it certainly takes a special driver to tame it. Talking to a few members of the Wilson Security Racing GRM race team, I found out that during the ride session, Scotty was at best going at 70 or 80% of his capable race pace in the interest of safety for the passengers.
A Return Of V8 Supercars For Next Year?
Although this was just an exhibition of V8 Supercars in action, they’ve already gained a new fan on that day and that’s precisely what the racing series entourage is here for. There’s a lot for fans to take in, beginning with the very excitable fast and furious, close quarters racing that takes place.
Secondly, unlike single-seater Formula 1 or LMP 1/ 2 class racing cars, the V8 Supercars have lots in common with our everyday road-going cars, at least in terms of looks and like us regular folk, they drive right-hand drive vehicles (if that’s relevant) – have you spotted the race-winning Nissan Teana (Altima) V8 yet? There’s a beast we know all too well in Malaysia. Not to miss out upon are the Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG and Ford Falcon XR8?
(The other V8 Supercars which jointly terrorised other passengers during the ride session)
It’s unfortunate that this year’s V8 Supercars event was purely a demo for all, but it does have us eagerly wanting more. Thankfully, we understand that should there be sufficient interest and a promising fanbase for V8 Supercars in Malaysia, the entire fleet of race cars may come back next year for a second time, to battle it out on the streets of Kuala Lumpur at next year’s event.
Think five thundering V8-powered cars was exciting? Try a full roster which consists of 25 or more cars. That’s sure to be an exciting one, don’t you think?