Volvo would welcome a return to the USA on the World Touring Car Championship calendar, as North America is a key market for the Swedish marque's new performance brand Polestar.

WTCC boss Francois Ribeiro, however, is sceptical it could happen without a strong local wildcard entry.

The WTCC last visited the USA in 2013, racing for the second consecutive year at Sonoma Raceway in California, but the third appearance scheduled for 2014 never happened for both logistical and commercial reasons.

US was not on the priority list of WTCC's then-newest manufacturer Citroen, as it doesn't have a presence in the US market, nor was it a priority for Honda, as the Japanese manufacturer already has many other programmes in the country in IndyCar and other national series.

WTCC promoter Ribeiro says in order for a WTCC race to succeed in America, it would need a high-profile driver to draw the fans to the event, which struggled to attract crowds during 2012-2013.

"Volvo told me they would be keen on having a race in North America, but I told them I would consider it only if we had a North American driver in the car, a high-profile driver", said Ribeiro.

"I have been there and I know that if you don't have that it's too difficult, because fans do not react to brands, they react to heroes, the drivers."

Ribeiro then indicated he has a shortlist of US stars he'd chose from. "I have many names in mind. But if I had to pick one, it would not be a male [driver]," he added.

The only American driver to race in the WTCC to date is Robb Holland, who took part in the first WTCC round in the USA in 2012 with Bamboo Engineering in the team's Chevrolet Cruze.

Meanwhile, two female drivers have raced in the WTCC so far - the late Maria de Villota, who had outings with Maurer Motorsport in 2007 and 2008, and Sabine Schmitz, who has raced at both of the Nurburgring Nordschleife rounds in 2015 and 2016 with Munnich Motorsport.

Pietro Casillo / TouringCarTimes


Be part of something big