When a carmaker breaks a lap record at the Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife circuit, it is usually followed by a huge hoopla to trumpet the accomplishment, complete with a barrage of videos and press releases. What Volvo did was keep it a secret – for an entire year.

The story goes that after the conclusion of the WTCC Race of Germany at the Nürburgring last year, the works Polestar Cyan Racing team stayed on to conduct a secret test with a Volvo S60 Polestar. The team wanted to see how far it could push the road car from a performance perspective, and incorporated its two decades of racing knowledge into the car you see here.

Although not originally part of the plan, the team inadvertently broke the then lap record for road-legal four-door cars, with a time of 7 minutes 51.11 seconds. In typical Swedish fashion, the feat was kept under wraps until just days before the 2017 race, because of the important lessons learnt from the test – which will be fed back to both the WTCC race cars and future Polestar road cars.

As you can see, the car used to set the time has been modified, with the visible changes being a vented bonnet as well as blistered wheel arches and bumpers to fit the wider track – so this isn’t exactly the S60 Polestar you can buy from the dealer. Still, it’s quite some achievement, eclipsed only by the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio last year.

The standard S60 Polestar features a 2.0 litre Drive-E turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder engine that develops 367 hp and 420 Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive – resulting in a 0-100 km/h time of just 4.7 seconds. To keep all that performance in check, there are stiffer springs, Öhlins dampers and 371 mm slotted brake discs.