Racing in Australia
Anthony Hyde, August 1999. Updated 1/2014
240 Turbo GROUP
In 1985 the
Mark Petch owned Group A Volvo 240T made headlines
in Australia with driver Robbie Francevic.
The 4 cyl Volvo Turbo was the new car on the block,
a real threat to V8 engine supremacy - How right
they were !
European Touring Car Championship
Australian Touring Car Championship
Australian Touring Car
countries close to
1987 and 1988 Southeast Asian Touring Car
Championship - Zepspeed Volvo team
1987 and 1988 Thailand Touring Car Championship
1987 and 1988 Malaysian Touring Car Championship,
wins 1986 ATCC
Group A - Australian Touring Car
winner - researched
by Anthony Hyde
'Group A' Volvo 240 Turbo racecars competed
in the 1986 championship. Driver's were Robbie
Francevic (NZ) car 10 (LH drive), and
starting a few rounds later John Bowe
(Australia) in car 4 (RH drive).
Cars History - 'Car 10' ex Belgium
(GTM Engineering) / ex Petch NZ /
240T. - 'Car 4' Australian Volvo Dealer Team
2nd car was ex Belgium 1986 RAS Nordica
built Test 'T' car. (Note: RH drive rather than the
usual euro LH drive), being fully rebuilt by the
Volvo Factory before shipment to Oz.
championship chase started with the Mark
Petch Motorsport team running car 10
with just one driver Robbie Francevic (NZ) . The
Petch team competed in two rounds before selling
the car and all equipment in March 1986 to the
newly formed Australian Volvo Dealer Team
The debut of the new dealer team was at R.3 Sandown
Park in Melbourne with car 10. The team
fielded two cars at R.4 Adelaide International
Raceway in April 1986 where Robbie Francevic's
'car 10' came 3rd, and John Bowe in the new
'T' 'car 4' came 4th.
this consisted of Volvo Car Australia, Volvo
Dealers from Australian & New Zealand, plus
Valvoline Oil Australia and other team sponsors.
Bob Atkin finalised the ADVT financial deal (former
state sales manager, Volvo, Minto. SVM later).
Volvo Dealers contributed 40% to the race budget -
$100 for each new car sold. Technical support was
both local and from Volvo Motorsport (VMS)
in Sweden. John Sheppard was appointed Team
Manager and the team was based at Calder,
Group A competition was against V8 GM Holden
Commodores, V8 Mustangs, Nissan Skyline Turbos, BMW
635CSi & 325i, Rover etc.
May 1986, Robbie Francevic took over the RH drive
'T' car and John Bowe campaigned the older LH drive
was a good year, Volvo won
Australian Touring Car Championship.
article below details the history of car 10, Robbie
Robbie Francevic in the Petch Racing 240T on its way to
convincingly win Round 1 of the AMSCAR / ATCC at Amaroo
Park, New South Wales. (Ray
A video / DVD is available for this great race, and its
recommended to Volvo GpA fans.
1986 - Nissan 500
street race in Wellington (New
- The Petch
Racing Team of Francevic / Lindström 2nd on grid
(Volvo was Car # 1 as they won the previous
Car retired with a broken oil line
1985 Mark Petch &
Hardie 1000, Bathurst 1985 Team -
Petch Motorsport with
Drivers' R.Francevic & J.Bowe - (retired
with broken alternator diode)
Impressive History of an ex Belgium GpA 240T that brought to
New Zealand & Australia
& Compilation by Anthony Hyde
- This LH drive semi-works built 240T GpA was
prepared in Belgium by Guy Trigaux Motors (GTM Engineering)
for the Belgium Volvo Dealer Team and competed in the
1984 European Touring Car Championship. The car (and spare
parts) were purchased from Volvo Motorsport (Sweden) by
a New Zealand engineer/businessman/race car driver. The car
was air freighted from Brussels to NZ after the 1984
European season ended, arriving in New Zealand January 1985.
Petch formed a race team partnership with driver
and at the time were the only privateers in the world
running a GpA 240 without direct factory support.
- In January, Mark Petch Racing
the famous Nissan Sport 500 street race in
Wellington, New Zealand with drivers
was familiar with the car as he raced it for GTM Engineering
in the 1984 ETC. This first
outing win was an amazing
as the car arrived very late at the circuit just in time for
final practice and started the race from rear of grid. Soon
after in 1985 the car was shipped to Australia, being
a late entry into the 1985 Australian Touring Car
Championship where new GpA regulations were introduced.
Having owned the car for a short time the new team didn't
yet have a supply of parts to change car setup for different
tracks. At this stage Robbie Francevic was involved both as
a driver & with the cars's race setup. Later in the year
the car received updates for endurance races at Sandown and
the Bathurst 'James Hardie 1000'. Wayne Eskersley was head
- Early in 1986, Mark Petch Motorsport competed once
again in the Nissan 500 street race in Wellington, New
Zealand following the sensational win the year before. For
the new season, major homologation updates were fitted to
the Volvo turbo by visiting
also being co-driver for the event with Robbie F. They
qualified 2nd on grid, result dnf. Back to Australia, the
team won the first two rounds of the 1986 ATCC with
the Petch Team's car & equipment was sold to Volvo
Australia. A new team was formed called the
Volvo Dealer Team'.
Drivers were Robbie Francevic & John Bowe. From May 86,
J.Bowe, the teams 2nd driver, drove this car for the rest of
the 1986 ATC Championship, except enduance events where a
new 240 RXT car was introduced.
This LH drive car contributed to
Australian Touring Car
(ATCC) the most popular category of Australian motorsport, a
brilliant result against the V8 Fords & Holdens.
- Volvo pulls out of racing worldwide due in part to world
GpA rule changes (eg turbo factor raised from 1.4 to 1.7)
and disputes with the FIA. The 3 Australian cars (the LH
plus 2 RH drives) were ordered back to Sweden by Volvo HQ,
departing in a giant Antonov Russian transport plane.
- Söderqvist Racing Services, (SRS) purchased
the ex-Petch LH car and the AVDT built RH drive car.
Apparently one of the cars was for 'Volvo
Finland', where later Leif Wiik
Finnish Touring Car Championship. Anders Lindberg
rebuilt the ex-Petch LH car and drove for Steffansson
Automotive (SAM) in the Swedish championship in
SAM (Sweden) sold car to a collector in Austria
Sold again to PK in Germany, 2003.
The car is in top good condition and lives on, being used in
historic racing in Germany.
- New paint scheme
for Robbie Francevics' (LH drive) GpA 240T as a result of
The new colours where the same as the European RAS Sport
Volvo Works team. First shown at round 3, Sandown Park,
- Francevic came in second behind the Nissan Skyline turbo.
Bowe in the Volvo Dealer Teams' 2nd GpA 240T
racecar (RH drive, ex RAS) chasing Australian
legend Peter Brock (red V8 HDT Holden Commodore),
and George Fury (Nissan Skyline turbo) at Wanneroo,
Later with Bowe leading the race a hose blew.
Luckily for Volvo, Robbie Francevic's 240T came in
1986 Round 4 ATCC-
Adelaide International won by
to R) Robbie Francevic, Stewart Houston, Stuart Stanombe,
Wayne Eckersley, Geff Grech (HDT), John Sheppard (team
on Truck is Graham 'Mort' Brown (missing driver John Bowe)
(VMS Photo, taken on a cold day at Calder Park, Melbourne,
After packing the transporter they headed off to Adelaide
for R.4 of the Australian Touring Car Championship which
(Later team members: Geoff
history of an Australian 'GROUP