Formula 1 star joins Volvo for BTCC. Volvo wins AA Award
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Formula 1 star joins Volvo for BTCC
Italian ace, Gianni Morbidelli is switching from Formula One to Touring Car racing. He is joining the Volvo S40 Racing team for the 1998 season to compete in the British Touring Car Championship. The signing on 10th December, at the Bologna Show will have Gianni as joint number one in the team with current Volvo star Rickard Rydell.
Gianni is Ferrari's official F1 test and reserve driver and has competed in rounds of the 1997 F1 World Championship with the Sauber team.
The Italian has vast motorsport experience in Formula One. Formula 3, and Touring Cars, and is looking forward to the challenge of racing in one of the most competitive championships on the calendar. I was delighted with the offer from Volvo and TWR. I know how important this Championship is, and with a company as prestigious as Volvo I know I have a great chance of winning races and perhaps even the Championship. I have raced and tested in Formula One for Ferrari and consider this just as much of a challenge," he said. The 1998 season will be Volvo's fifth in the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Series and Chairman of Volvo Motorsport, Thomas Lindskog, welcomed the addition of Gianni to the driver line-up by saying: "The addition of Gianni to the driver line-up is good for our ambitions, for Volvo's international marketing and good for the BTCC." Race Director, Roger Silman, from TWR said: 'Yes, are delighted to have someone of Gianni's capabilities racing for us. We obviously have a very talented driver in Rickard and now with Gianni joining us we feel we have one of the strongest line-ups in the Championship. I am sure they will soon form a strong working partnership and Volvo and TWR can look forward to successes with them.
The first time Gianni will test a Volvo S40 will be in January and then his racing season will begin on the 13th April at Thruxton.
Volvo wins major consumer award
Volvo has won a prestigious AA Award for being the first manufacturer to build a mainstream car capable of running on either petrol or natural gas.
Presented by the Director General of the AA, John Maxwell, the award recognises Volvo's world lead in offering a practical and realistic alternative fuel vehicle on the mainstream market. "The Bi-Fuel car is a further indication of Volvo's commitment to harmonising the needs of road users with the need to protect the environment," he said. Gerry Keaney, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK Ltd accepted the Award. "Volvo has been at the forefront of environmentally-sound engineering for most of its history and it is an area where we intend to maintain our lead," he said. "The Bi-Fuel, which rims on both petrol and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), has cleaner emissions than any other production car on sale in the UK. In fact, emissions are so low the car meets, and beats, California's ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) regulations.
"The Bi-Fuel is a practical, rather than theoretical, way for drivers to act more positively towards the environment without losing the inherent benefits that cars provide for society as a whole." The annual AA Awards reflect and recognise major developments and achievements in the fields of transport and motoring. Other recipients of the 1997 AA Awards include the Thrust SSC Team for its magnificent achievement in breaking the sound barrier, Philips Car Systems for its in-car guidance system and The Royal College of Art for its ground-breaking Vehicle Design Course.