Rob Austin will remain with Handy Motorsport for a second consecutive season as the podium-scoring partnership targets a sustained championship challenge in it’s sophomore year.
Austin, who made the switch from his self-run Exocet Racing outfit to Simon Belcher’s Swindon-based team at the start of last year, was rewarded with a return to the podium on three occasions at Snetterton, Silverstone and Brands Hatch respectively.
The team will once again run the Toyota Avensis as a single-car outfit, the livery of which will be revealed on Thursday at the annual Autosport International Show.
“Firstly, I’m obviously very happy to be part of Handy Motorsport again for the new BTCC season”, said Austin.
“We always knew there would be a learning curve relating to all aspects in 2016, driving, engineering, management and personnel. The BTCC is so competitive, all of these aspects have to be perfect to get to the front and I will admit it took longer than I expected.
“Our continuous improvement each time out through the second half of last season, though, capped off with a front row qualifying and a great podium at one of my weakest tracks to round the year off, shows that we just about got there in the end. There is no reason that form won’t continue, so it’s exciting to be going into the 2017 season with a car that can win and is so well supported.”
He added: “We have some exciting new partnerships in place and have retained the fantastic support from our existing partners, I can’t wait to show them off together with our exciting new livery at Autosport International.”
Team Principal Simon Belcher was also delighted at the news, which continues of the development curve that has seen his team make the step from occasional points finishes to race-winning contention.
He was also elated at the team’s prominent position on this Dunlop BTCC stand at this week’s Autosport Show.
“Autosport International is always the true start of the motor racing year and it’s a hugely important date on the calendar for Handy Motorsport”, commented Belcher.
“We’re obviously delighted to be a key part of the Dunlop BTCC stand once again, and we’re looking forward to giving everyone the first glimpse of our stunning new livery – we think it’ll be pretty popular!
“It goes without saying, we’re absolutely elated Rob is staying with the team for a second season and we’re all aiming to build on the foundations we laid last year. The team got stronger and more competitive as the season progressed, Rob proved the car was quick and helped make history with our first podiums and Independents wins. We’re aiming higher still for 2017.”