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Volvo chose WTCC over DTM due to global aspirations

Volvo Polestar chose the World Touring Car Championship over the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters due to its global ambitions, according to the marque’s Commercial Director of Motorsport Alexander Murdzevski.

Volvo will return to the WTCC in 2016 with a two-car works effort, competing with its Polestar performance brand under the ‘Polestar Cyan Racing’ banner.

The decision to race in the WTCC instead of the potentially more premium DTM has however raised some eyebrows, with many likening the Polestar arm, which was acquired by Volvo in Summer 2015, to the performance division of Mercedes, AMG.

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“We’ve already won the DTM so a new challenge is something good maybe,” joked Murdzevski at the official WTCC Media Day. “Jokes aside, we did win the DTM in 1985 during the turbo era at that time with the 240, the so-called ‘flying brick’. That was a good moment and history continues in the same fashion with turbocharged and a down-sized engine for this year’s WTCC of course.

“First and foremost and we should all remember this but this is a world championship and with that it means everybody universally will understand your achievement.

“We race in Sweden, we race in Australia, fantastic championships themselves but it’s extremely difficult to get a customer in the US excited about a product racing in a championship in Australia that they haven’t heard about. If you put a lot of effort into explaining your achievement then you are lost a little bit in marketing communications so the world championship title is first and foremost our main objective in the WTCC.”

As well as the reasons of marketing rhetoric, Murdzevski also explained that the technical regulations of the WTCC were much better aligned with the current car market, which favours smaller, turbocharged engines.

“[The WTCC is] extremely well-aligned with the performance offers today and the coming performance offers with the downsized technical regulations, you may say, and turbocharged engines, so it all fits really well with Polestar being Volvo Car Group’s new performance company.”

Volvo have also taken the opportunity to leverage their reputation for safety and will be supplying the official WTCC safety car in 2016 – guaranteeing that the brand will lead races in the coming season.

However Murdzevski doesn’t believe that it will require the presence of a Volvo safety car to ensure the brand will lead races, predicting that its S60 cars will be fast from the very first meeting.

“Regardless of what Thed [Björk] and Fredrik [Ekblom] do we do have the safety car so we can accommodate that!

“We know the job we have to do. This is a championship which has been blessed with a manufacturer [Citroën] who has achieved better results in an FIA championship than anyone else has during the past 10 years, be it World Rally or World Touring Cars like this. It’s a tremendous challenge obviously so we have to be very realistic about it.

“When we get to Paul Ricard we’ll go into race mode and we’re going to fight for wins and podiums with every essence of energy we have.

“The first year is a learning year but I don’t think we won’t be quick and I think we’ll pick up speed fairly quickly. We’ve done touring cars for 30 years consecutively so I think this is really down our alley.”

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