Anyone concerned that the interior of Cyan Racing’s WTCC-engined Volvo P1800 might be at odds with its exterior can worry no more. First glimpse of the cabin confirms that the race-engineered stunner gets an appropriately vintage interior, bearing an all-black Momo steering wheel, fixed-back Recaro buckets and a dashboard with little more than a pair of digital dials. It looks like a perfect blend of race and retro. We want one so bad.
We have since September, of course, when Cyan Racing pulled the covers off its P1800 and revealed the specs. To recap, the car uses a WTCC-grade turbo 2.0-litre with 420hp and 336lb ft of torque, delivered in a linear fashion before that peak power arrives just before a 7,700rpm redline. Drive’s sent rearwards through a custom Holinger five-speed dog-leg manual, and the chassis has fully independent suspension with two-way adjustable dampers. And the car weighs 990kg. Oh la la.
With today’s update (including new pictures, which we've added to the gallery below) we also now know that the P1800 features lightweight uprights, a rack and pinion steering system, and a roll cage to improve torsional rigidity. The cage is titanium and comes wrapped in leather, with harnesses hung off the central bar so the driver and passenger are held in proper motorsport fashion. Cyan certainly knows its stuff in this department; the Swedish squad won the WTCC title with a Volvo S60 racer as recently as 2017.
As if that wasn’t enough, Cyan Racing’s head of engineering, Mattias Evensson, has sprinkled it with even more potential. He said: “As with most cars from the past, they tend to be less rewarding to drive then we might want to remember them...We have designed a completely new chassis for the Volvo P1800 Cyan that keeps the analogue direct unfiltered connection with the road, but with much more control and predictiveness.”
We’re still not given any indication on pricing, so we’ll still expect it to amount to quite a lot; something in the hundreds of thousands feels inevitable. But given that this is basically a Swedish take on the magic of a Singer 911, with a whole lot more motorsport clout, we don’t expect Cyan to struggle finding takers.
Original story: 03.09.2020
We all know that the sympathetic (or otherwise) updating of classic cars is big business in 2020; in theory, a reimagination should offer the best of both worlds. Done right, the character and charm of an old car is retained, only shot through with a level of performance and usability that customers of modern vehicles are more used to - perfect. Now it’s the turn of Cyan Racing - the touring car team that was Polestar - to take on the restomod task with this, the Volvo P1800. And, well, you want one too, right?
Cliched though it will sound, it’s hard to know where to begin with the Cyan Racing P1800. Perhaps most important to note is that this project has been undertaken by Cyan independently, with no input from Volvo or Polestar (the latter was wholly acquired by the former in 2015, following which the former Polestar Racing was renamed Cyan Racing.) So, although you may have been concerned this classic Volvo was set to be sullied with an electric or hybrid powertrain, fear not: it has a touring car engine. Seriously. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo was first used in the WTCC-spec C30 in 2011, and was still in use the last time Cyan won a WTCC title with a Volvo, that being the S60 in 2017. In this installation it makes 420hp and 336lb ft, revs to 7,700rpm and drives through a custom Holinger five-speed dog-leg manual. Which is awesome. There aren’t performance claims just yet, but through the extensive use of carbon - more on that in a sec - the Cyan P1800 weighs just 990kg. So that’s a power-to-weight ratio comparable to a Ferrari 458 Speciale, for starters…
And this car is way, way more than just a tonne of power and the paint scheme we all love. The point of this car, says Cyan, was to imagine the P1800 they would have built for the road had they been a race team back in the 1960s. And, er, had access to 21st century technology. CEO Christian Dahl talks of “our interpretation of what could have been”, referencing the continuation cars like the E-Type and 911, the originals of which were launched after the P1800. As for an electrified powertrain, Dahl simply reckons that “that was not what we wanted”. He added: "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." Which is restomod to a tee, arguably.
Therefore the P1800 has had its track widened to allow larger wheels to be fitted (with bigger brakes behind them), then the shell “refined and reinforced” with steel and carbon. The original weak points of the car have been the focus, every single bit of the black stuff said to add structural rigidity, yet used sparingly enough to keep weight below a tonne, even with a titanium roll cage as well. Suspension is independent and fully adjustable - for camber, caster and toe up front, camber and toe behind - with dampers tweakable in compression and rebound as well. Even the LSD can be played with. Brakes are chunky despite the low weight - 362mm with four-piston calipers at the front, 330mm behind with the same calipers at the back - and Pirelli P Zeros sit on each of the forged, centre-lock wheels. So it’s a serious proposition, then, as might reasonably be expected from a race team with multiple world titles behind them. Conspicuous by their absence, however, are much in the way of driver aids. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, right? The Cyan P1800 has no brake booster, no ABS and no stability control; why? "The Volvo P1800 Cyan is about clearing away anything disturbing the direct connection between driver, tyres and the road. Our objective has been to keep that undisturbed sensation whilst refining it with the best technology of today,” said Project Manager Mattias Evensson. Who we shall now call Sir Mattias Evensson.
Don’t just take his word for it, either. Thed Bjork is Cyan’s test driver and 2017 WTCC champ: “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.” Which sounds like quite the experience, no?
Now is typically when the bad news comes; we’ve been here before of course, if slightly less enticingly, with the C30 Prototype of 2010 - built when Cyan Racing was still known as Polestar. That featured an incredible spec, looked amazing and drove really well, but never saw the light of day. Now, though, as well as reconnecting with the C30 project for the P1800 - “we wanted to carry over some of the driving feeling” - Cyan Racing will actually make some of these incredible coupes. Now, obviously, it isn’t going to introduce a range of dealerships and create a pricelist on the website, but the line is there at the end of the release: “Pricing and individual specification is available for prospective clients.” Which sounds a lot like a few have to be made, because they’ve used the plural of ‘client’. And although the build, with all that carbon fibre, the touring car engine and race team expertise, will surely run into the hundreds of thousands - plus the £25k for a donor car - how much does an Eagle E-Type of Singer reimagined 911 project cost? Purely on spec, provenance and looks, we’d immediately elevate the Cyan Racing P1800 into that stratosphere - how could you not? More details, plus most likely the pinch to wake us all up, to follow soon.
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