20 years on: Rickard Rydell to reunite with
title-winning BTCC Volvo
Rickard Rydell will make an emotional trip down memory lane when he lines up at July’s Silverstone Classic to race his iconic 1998 BTCC title-winning Volvo S40.
The accomplishments on the British Touring Car Championship arena in the 1990s have come to define Rydell’s near 30-year career, with his 1998 crown marking the absolute highlight.
Now, exactly 20 years later, the Swedish racer will reappear in front of the British crowd in the very same car that produced that most significant moment: the illustrious Volvo S40.
Rydell is set to contest the JET Super Touring Car Trophy races at Silverstone Classic – the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival – on July 20-22, slotting back inside one of the great machines of the fabled super touring era while battling flat out with other contemporary cars and drivers (including Vauxhall legend John Cleland).
“I will never forget the years I had in the BTCC and I’m so happy to recall and celebrate that time at Silverstone this summer,” says Rickard Rydell, now 50. “The super touring days were fantastic. There were big budgets, unlimited testing, great cars and knife-edge competition between the manufacturers. I’m thrilled to reunite with possibly the most important car of my career. Furthermore, Silverstone was actually the place where I sealed the title all those years ago, so it will be a special weekend for many reasons.”
Commissioned by Volvo, the S40 was originally built by the legendary TWR team, but is now owned by experienced car enthusiast Jason Minshaw (who regularly drives it in historic racing).
“I’d like to thank Jason for graciously stepping aside and lending me his car for the weekend,” Rydell says. “It’s thanks to him that this is possible, so very appreciated.”
Rydell, who retired from professional racing a few years ago, will also take to the wheel of another idolised BTCC Volvo at Silverstone Classic. The famous 850 Estate – in which he contested his very first BTCC season in 1994 – constitutes one of the gems lined up for a special BTCC Diamond Jubilee Parade that will feature 60 cars to celebrate 60 years of the British Touring Car Championship, with Rydell set to do the driving.
“The 850 Estate is a true icon,” Rydell concludes. “Publicity-wise it was a great stunt by Volvo, and I still meet people who recall that car very strongly. At the end of the season, it was relatively competitive as well. I have so many fond memories of the UK – one year I did 38 return flights from Sweden. I’m sure there will be plenty of emotions at Silverstone this summer, but more than anything a lot of fun!”
Rickard Rydell participated in 170 BTCC races between 1994-2000, winning 21.
Silverstone Classic annually attracts crowds of over 100 000 visitors.