Volvo is planning to join the World Touring Car Championship full-time from the start of next season.
The Swedish manufacturer will field one car in the British and Japanese rounds this season for Swedish and Scandinavian Touring Car Championship leader Robert Dahlgren, and has invited its semi-works team Polestar Racing to evaluate a full campaign in 2011.
Volvo has made several WTCC outings in recent years, with Dahlgren and Tommy Rustad appearing at Brands Hatch last season, and Dahlgren as a single car entry at Brands in '08 and Anderstorp in '07. The marque had stopped short of a full commitment to the series but its motorsport commercial director, Alexander Murdzevski, says the time is now right the new engine regulations coming into force next year.
"We see WTCC now addressing its major obstacle for growth with the new engine regulations," said Murdzevski. "At the same time, we see several national championships starting to stray from the FIA S2000 regulations by several own counterproductive decisions and dispensations from a manufacturer perspective.
"We will remain focused on the improved FIA S2000 regulations used in WTCC. That is why we have given Polestar a green light to further evaluate competitiveness, and challenged them to establish a financial and technical plan for WTCC for 2011, including a full FIA homologation of the current C30 car."
The bio-ethanol-powered C30 has only been homologated on a national basis, so Dahlgren will not be eligible to score points at Brands Hatch or Okayama, but Polestar boss Christian Dahl wants to use the events as an evaluation of next year's project.
"We are very happy Volvo has made the decision to let us do Brands Hatch again and Okayama," he said. "We have done one World Touring Car Championship event per season to evaluate our car against the best. These two meetings will allow an even better evaluation."