Volvo have announced that they will return to the FIA World Touring Car championship in 2016 with a pair of TC1-spec S60s ran by factory racing arm Polestar Cyan Racing.
The Swedish manufacturer, who last competed in the world championship in 2013 with a sole C30 entry for Thed Björk in Shanghai, has confirmed a multi-year commitment to the series and will become the fourth factory outfit in the championship after Citroën, Honda and Lada.
The announcement came on the 30th anniversary of Volvo's 1985 European Touring Car triumph with the 240 Turbo. After competing on home soil and in Australia in recent years, the four time Scandinavian Touring Car Championship winning team has been hard at work developing a new turbocharged car for their WTCC campaign.
The S60 TC1 race car, built specifically for the WTCC, will be powered by a 400 bhp four-cylinder engine based on their own Drive-E unit and built to the current 1.6 litre WTCC specifications.
Despite extensive touring car experience, Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo
chief executive officer Christian Dahl is not underestimating the
challenge of returning to the world stage.
"We have got respect for the task ahead of us that we take on with absolute commitment," said Dahl.
"This is a long-term effort and we have an extensive testing programme
during the winter that will continue alongside our first WTCC season in
2016 that is all about learning."
Despite their 2011
evaluation season being their last full year in WTCC, Dahl says that the
wheels have been in motion for a full-time return ever since.
the time we did the evaluation season the ownership at Volvo was
changing, as well as the new regulations coming in, so we stopped that
programme,” he said.
"Very soon after that, though, as early as 2013, we
started looking back into a WTCC project and by May this year we were
testing already. We wanted to come back, it was just a matter of things
coming together at the right time."
The testing program for the
new S60 TC1 is already underway with Volvo factory drivers Thed Björk,
Fredrik Ekblom and Robert Dahlgren all completing laps behind the wheel
of the new car at Mantorp Park in Sweden.
drove Volvo's C30 WTCC car in the 2011 evaluation year, has stated that
he hopes to be considered for one of the two 2016 race seats.
"It would be a
dream to be involved in the championship in 2016, because that’s what
I’ve been longing for ever since I joined the Volvo family," said the
Swede, who drove a Volvo V8 Supercar in the manufacturer's first season
in the category last year. "I want to win that title. Hopefully I will be part of the line-up."
the last two seasons - since the introduction of the new TC1
regulations - have been dominated by Citroën and their C-Elysée,
François Ribeiro, head of WTCC promoter Eurosport Events believes that
it wont take long for Volvo to challenge.
"I think Volvo
have the right setup to be competitive, as they design all the
components under the same roof. I’m positive that because they spent the
proper amount of time in designing and testing the car they will be
competitive," he said.
"I am not saying it will be a winning car, but
for sure they know what it takes to be competitive in the WTCC, I don’t
think they underestimated it, and it’s the first step to be competitive.
Volvo will make the level higher."
Images: Polestar Cyan Racing