Volvo Polestar Racing will make a one-off return to the FIA World Touring Car Championship at next month’s Race of China at Shanghai. The team will field a single Super 2000-spec Volvo C30 1.6T for current Scandinavian Touring Car Champion Thed Björk.
The announcement marks the first time since 2011 that the beautiful blue C30 will be on the grid.
The Swedish carmaker fielded a single full-time entry for Robert Dahlgren as it sought to evaluate a full-scale assault on the championship in 2012, although ultimately – and much to the great disappointment of many fans worldwide – the plans never came to fruition, despite the obvious pace of the car and its driver.
Its decision to have a one-off race is certainly interesting, and perhaps it could pave the way for a future full-time return for Volvo’s motorsport arm, which will make its first forays into Australia’s V8 Supercars Championship with a pair of bespoke S60 models for the Garry Rogers Motorsport operation.
Perhaps Polestar is looking to evaluate a full-scale return and compete against the works-backed efforts being fielded by Citröen, Honda and LADA. That, however, was speculation that Volvo Motorsport’s commercial director, Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, was quick to hose down.
“We are entering this race to check the pulse of WTCC, as well as celebrating Thed Björk’s amazing performance in the STCC this year,” he said in the outfit’s media release.
“We moved our focus to the Volvo S60 model as our primary car for motorsport in 2012, the model that we are currently racing in Sweden and USA and that we will race in the Australian V8 Supercars next year.
“While our S60 model does not match WTCC well today, we still think WTCC represents possibly the best value for money and one-fits-all global motorsport solution if you want to race with a smaller C-segment car. Consequently, we are keen on staying closely informed and this is precisely our objective with Shanghai, not outright performance and results.”
“I am looking forward to making my WTCC debut with Volvo and I am very grateful to get this opportunity. The WTCC is a very competitive championship and the challenge for us is going to be great, but that is only fuelling my motivation,” Björk said.
“We know that we have got a tough race weekend ahead of us as we never before have raced at the circuit. We keep our ambitions realistic, to make it to the top ten would be a great result, but our main mission is to gather data and information.
“Nonetheless, I am going to give my very best and there is no doubt that we have two exciting races ahead.”
Images via FIA WTCC Media and Pontus Ydström, Sweden