Volvo is understood to be on the road to returning to the FIA World Touring Car Championship as soon as next year. The Swedish carmaker is believed to be targeting a full-time championship assault in 2016, preceded by an evaluation run of a purposebuilt new car in the final rounds of the 2015 season.
The Swedish carmaker and its racing arm, Polestar, embarked on an ‘evaluation season’ in the WTCC in 2011 with Robert Dahlgren, using an upgraded version of the Volvo C30 it had fielded the Swede in a handful of one-off outings over the preceding seasons. The team showed its commitment by introducing a bespoke 1.6-litre turbo engine before the halfway point of the season, which allowed Dahlgren to regularly mix with the frontrunning Chevrolets, BMWs and SEATs.
The team ultimately stepped back from launching a full-scale programme in 2012, but curiously made a one-off return last year at Shanghai, giving three-time Scandinavian champion Thed Björk a hit-out.
In what was effectively an undeveloped three-year-old car and a rookie driver, the package proved extremely competitive against the RML Chevrolets and the new Hondas, which were the pace-setters at the end of the 2013 season.
Recent comments attributed to Polestar managing director Christian Dahl would suggest that Volvo might be targeting a return to the series, where it would compete for outright Manufacturer Championship honours against the likes of Citroën (runaway winners of this year’s crown in their debut seaosn), Honda and LADA.
“I was surprised about the performance that weekend actually because we’d been away for quite a while and hadn’t done any updates,” Dahl told the TouringCarTimes website.
“It was quite a good weekend and it was basically done as to respect contracts with our partners as we’re supposed to do one race a year, but looking into the future, I think we need a global platform or an international platform to build the credibility for the performance car, and the best championship for that is the World Touring Cars. I think the new regulations are really good, and the global footprint is really good.”
Volvo Polestar Racing currently competes in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and Australia’s V8 Supercars Championship. It is expected that ex-WTCC racer Dahlgren – who currently races in the V8 series – will be recalled to spearhead another WTCC effort.
Image via FIA WTCC Media