Polestar Cyan Racing, Volvo’s factory team in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, has confirmed an expanded driver line-up for the 2017 season.
The outfit has retained the services of Volvo stalwart Thed Björk, while adding two-time TC 2000 Championship winner Néstor Girolami and former LADA WTCC driver Nicky Catsburg to its roster.
Starting its second season of its comeback to the championship, the team achieved its first goal of a race win in 2016 (with Björk doing the honours in China) and is now targeting a championship title in 2017.
Girolami has had a handful of WTCC outings to-date, making two appearances for the privateer NIKA Racing squad in 2015 and following that up with an appearance for Polestar at Motegi in Japan last year where he scored points in both races.
“I am extremely grateful to get this opportunity together with Polestar Cyan Racing,” said Girolami. “My first race with them last year was really promising and I felt right at home with the team.
“I hope to, together with everyone in the team, Thed and Nicky, take the next step forwards in the result lists this year.”
For Catsburg, the opportunity is welcome news after he looked set to be on the sidelines when LADA announced its surprise decision to quit the championship at the end of the 2016 season.
The Dutch driver will be looking to improve on a promising 2016 campaign where he peaked with his maiden WTCC race win at LADA’s home round at Moscow Raceway. A frontrunner since he made his debut with the Russian team in mid-2015, Catsburg’s clear potential had largely been hamstrung by bad luck and the Vesta’s reliability.
“I followed Polestar Cyan Racing’s progress closely from a competing team in 2016, and I am very glad to join them now,” added Catsburg.
“Their results from last year were impressive and I hope that I, together with Thed [Björk] and Néstor [Girolami], can put on a strong performance in order to deliver our tough goals for the 2017 season.”
Björk offers the only continuity in the team’s driving line-up, remaining for a second full-time season while Fredrik Ekblom and Robert Dahlgren – who shared the cockpit of the team’s second S60 racer over the season. Both Ekblom and Dahlgren parted ways with Volvo
“The feeling to win our first race already in our first season was incredible and it’s really boosted my confidence ahead of the new season, in which we’ve set ourselves new and higher targets,” Björk said.
“The off-season testing has been rewarding, I have never before driven this much ahead of a season and I feel well prepared to fight for the world title. I am also really glad to have Néstor and Nicky on board – they are both very fast and professional.”
Polestar Cyan Racing has had a busy off-season, building brand new cars in readiness for the 2017 season as well as completing a new operational site with a simulator, engine dyno and manufacturing facilities near the city of Gothenburg.
“This is the result of many years of hard work and we are proud to create an unprecedented level of motorsport industry in Scandinavia,” said Polestar Cyan Racing CEO Christian Dahl.
“The facilities are a vital part in our push for the 2017 WTCC title, but there is of course more to it. Our testing programme has proceeded according to plan and we have taken key steps forward in the development of the S60 Polestar TC1 race car.”
The 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship will fire up at WTCC Race of Morocco in Marrakech from 7-9 April, with an open pre-season test for the entire field at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on 14 March.
Image via Polestar Cyan Racing