Volvo have revealed they are considering a switch to the World Touring Car Championship following Robert Dahlgren's strong showing with the C30 hatchback at Brands Hatch.
The Swedish manufacturer has a long history of touring car racing, famously entering the British championship in 1994 with an estate before scoring the title with Rickard Rydell in 1998.
Also competing in the European Championship in 2002 and 2003, Volvo have nonethleess scaled down their operation recent years, limiting themselves to racing a pair of S60 saloons in the Swedish Touring Car Championship until the end of 2007.
However, a switch to the C30 hatchback has seen Polestar Racing, who run the team, bring Volvo's efforts back up to date and while the car is still undergoing an intense development programme, it is already a frontrunner in its homeland.
Furthermore, the C30 showed remarkably well on the world stage for the first time at the weekend when the team gave the car its WTCC debut in the hands of regular driver Dahlgren. Running comfortably inside the top ten all weekend, despite carrying 30kg of extra ballast for newcomers, Dahlgren actually went on to retire from the first race and fail to start the second.
Indeed, Dahlgren told Crash.net Radio
that the WTCC is something Volvo are seriously considering, even if he admits it would take substantially more investment from the manufacturer than they currently receive.
“Polestar is hoping to be with Volvo and doing World Touring Cars in the future,” the former British Formula Ford Champion said. “I feel like I have been ready for the last couple of years but I haven't had the opportunity, so hopefully it will be happening with Volvo.
“It is a works effort at the moment, but they spend enough money for us to compete in Swedish Touring Cars and go for wins and the championship, but on the world stage we need to put quite a bit more in so as to fight with the top teams.”
His views were shared by Volvo's Motorsport Director Derek Crabb, who was at Brands Hatch to see how the C30 stacked up against the factory-prepared BMWs, SEATs and Chevrolets. Indeed, with the series turning to the biofuel the C30 already runs on next year, he considers it an ideal time to consider a graduation.