Cyan Racing, the reigning triple World Touring Car Champions, has revealed the Volvo P1800 Cyan, a modern interpretation of the iconic Volvo sports car from the '60s.
”Our company was founded in 1996 to race Volvo cars in Sweden and the Volvo P1800 Cyan is closing the circle for us,” said Christian Dahl, CEO and founder of Cyan Racing.
“We claimed our first world title with Volvo in 2017 and have since then won two further world titles with two other manufacturers. The first world title was a milestone for us, and we felt it was a good time to reconnect with the past and to those before us racing Volvos. The first Volvo P1800 Cyan carries our blue and yellow racing colours to mark our heritage.”
The original Volvo P1800 was unveiled in 1960, a year before the Jaguar E-Type, two years before the Ferrari 250 GTO and three years before the Porsche 911.
"The Jaguar, the Ferrari and the Porsche are all cars with a continuation,” said Dahl. “That left us with inspiration to create what could have been if we as a race team had been there during the '60s, racing the P1800, and got to design a road version of our race car.”
“We have done that before with three of our race cars, the Volvo C30, the Volvo S60, when we were known as Polestar, and last year the Lynk & Co 03 Cyan. The Volvo P1800 Cyan is our interpretation of what could have been.”
Looking back in the midst of a paradigm shift
Unlike many modern retromods, the P1800 Cyan is reassuringly old-school. In this age of autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity, Cyan Racing decided it was time to capture what has been and to make it timeless.
"Obviously we could have built an electric Volvo P1800 filled with all the latest technology, comfort and luxury. But that was not what we wanted," explained Dahl.
"Amid this paradigm shift we decided to slow down time and freeze a part of it in our own time capsule. To take the best from the golden sixties and combine it with our capabilities of today, keeping a pure yet refined driving experience."
Focused to deliver genuine driving pleasure
While creating the Volvo P1800 Cyan, the team behind it decided to treat the design and engineering of the sixties with care, moving it forward in a delicate way.
"We decided to apply our expertise in engine, aero and chassis design for a car that delivers on the Cyan engineering philosophy in terms of predictability and intuitive driver control, yet keeping the light-weight, analogue driving experience of the sixties," said Mattias Evensson, Project Manager and Head of Engineering at Cyan Racing.
There are no driver aids to distort the driving experience, meaning no stability control, ABS or brake booster.
Light-weight carbon fibre and high-strength steel body
The Volvo P1800 body has been modified to accommodate a wider track, larger wheels and repositioned greenhouse, among a long list of redesigns.
“To put together an interpretation of an iconic design is a challenge. I think we succeeded in merging new technology without losing the character of the original Volvo P1800,” said Ola Granlund, Head of Design at Cyan Racing.
The Volvo P1800 Cyan started life as a 1964 Volvo P1800 that has been refined and reinforced utilising high-strength steel and carbon fibre.
“The basis for a precise and intuitive driving experience is a solid body structure. Cars from the sixties are far from ideal when it comes to this due to weak points and steel quality that allow for flex,” said Evensson.
“We have redesigned the structure of the original shape and strengthened weak points in the chassis through triangulation, using high-strength steel and integrated the carbon fibre body with the chassis structure.
This process is a key part to enable low weight and high responsiveness, with the car weighing just 990 kilos.
Engine and transmission design
The 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine is based on the same powerplant as used in the world title-winning Volvo S60 TC1 race car, producing 308kW and 455Nm of torque, with a red line at 7700 rpm.
Although the engine is turbocharged, it was developed to deliver a linear power and torque curve with the characteristics of a normally aspirated engine. The engine character is designed to deliver a driving experience as in the '60s but with increased performance and precision.
A five-speed bespoke Holinger gearbox has been selected to carry the mechanical feeling of the original Volvo P1800, but with greater gear change precision and capability of handling the increased torque.
The original Volvo P1800 live rear axle is replaced with a Cyan-designed independent rear suspension.
A key part to the engaging rear-wheel drive experience is the torque-biasing limited slip differential. The differential is mounted in a Holinger housing with unique gears in order to combine capable performance on a circuit with civilised behaviour for road use.
A pure driver focused chassis
The fully adjustable front and rear suspension features bespoke lightweight components, including aluminium uprights, double wishbones and two-way adjustable dampers with Cyan hydraulics.
“We are really satisfied with the level of grip and precision that we have achieved from the chassis in combination with a responsive steering,” said Thed Björk, development driver and 2017 touring car world champion for Cyan Racing.
“The car goes where you point it. You can be brutal going into a corner and still find your apex and exit within millimetres.
“The settings of the car are not aimed at fast lap times but rather to deliver an enjoyable and exciting driving experience. I feel my smile widening each time that I control the drift angle of the car through a long turn.”
The carbon fibre-reinforced chassis is connected to the road with 18-inch forged rims with Pirelli P Zero 235/40 tyres at the front and 265/35 at the rear.The P1800 Cyan is not just a fancy concept, it will be offered for sale.