The 2016 FIA World Touring Car Championship season will be kick-started at Circuit Paul Ricard in France with an event that will last from 1 – 3 April. This season marks the return of Volvo factory team Polestar Cyan Racing, running two cars this year with aim of expanding their entry to further cars in 2017.

Volvo has reaffirmed its title ambitions for the Championship, with multiple title-winning drivers Thed Björk and Fredrik Ekblom behind the wheel of the striking Volvo S60 Polestar TC1. Ekblom will race with #61 and Björk with #62, based on the Volvo S60 model’s number 60 – in the same way, in the 2011 evaluation season for the Volvo C30 model, Robert Dahlgren ran with #30.

The first official pre-season WTCC test for the team - held in Italy at the start of March - was encouraging, with the team able to complete an extensive testing programme over the two days at the Vallelunga circuit north of Rome.

Thed Björk commented on the team’s impressive times, saying ‘We have had two extremely valuable test days. While we can’t draw any real conclusions until the first race, it is satisfying to see that we straight out of the box are quite close to the top times’.

Polestar Cyan Racing’s 400bhp Volvo S60 Polestar TC1 is powered by a four-cylinder, 1595cc, Drive-E Volvo engine, which the team hope will propel them past competitor manufacturers’ performance vehicles in their race for the title.

Volvo has made another step forward this season, with the Polestar performance arm supplying the FIA WTTC’s Official Safety Car, dubbed the safest ever used in the Championship. The Volvo V60 Polestar Safety Car has been modified by motorsport-focused Cyan Racing to feature mandatory safety equipment, including a roll cage and rescue and communication equipment; it boasts a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and is able to deliver an engaging, exact, assertive drive, whatever the weather.

François Ribeiro, Head of WTCC promoter Eurosport Events, commented on the new long-term partnership: ‘Last October we welcomed Polestar’s long-term commitment to the WTCC as a manufacturer. Now we welcome Polestar as the new Official Safety Car partner of the WTCC, an exclusive opportunity which will allow them to promote their extremely safe and high-performing V60 flagship model around the world.’

The track-ready V60 Polestar will lead the field around the track on the formation lap of the Opening and Main Races, also being deployed from the pit lane if assistance is required mid-race.

Tune in to the first of 12 races in the 2016 FIA WTCC this weekend, from France’s Circuit Paul Ricard, and witness the team make their mark on what is sure to be a gripping season. With the S60 Polestar TC1 taking to the track to boost the brand’s title ambitions, as well as the supremely safe V60 Polestar leading the way, it’s sure to be a riveting weekend for Volvo performance.