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Simon Belcher takes a ‘year out’ from driving in 2016

Simon Belcher will not race in the 2016 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), electing instead to focus on managing his team as he looks for a second driver for Handy Motorsport.

Belcher announced earlier this month that he had entered into a partnership with Rob Austin Racing to run a Toyota Avensis for Rob Austin in this year’s BTCC, whilst at the same time refusing to rule out a return to the driving seat himself.

Now, Belcher has opted to focus on the management of his fledgling team, as he seeks to grow his outfit into a front-running force in the championship.

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“Our long term plan is to become a front running team in, what is, the UK’s premier championship and 2016 is going to be such a critical year for Handy Motorsport”, explained Belcher. “The plans we have going forward mean I need to make a personal sacrifice, in terms of my own racing ambitions, in order to drive the team forward in a management role.

“I would have loved to embark on my third season in the BTCC after two incredibly enjoyable years behind the wheel to date, and it would have been great having Rob as a team-mate. However, I have a bigger goal for the team so I will sit this year out with the aim of climbing back into the driving seat in 2017 when the expanded team is fully established.”

Handy Motorsport have leased a TOCA BTCC Licence (TBL) from Rob Austin Racing for 2016, giving them the opportunity to run two cars, thanks to Handy Motorsport themselves again being allocated a licence for the forthcoming season.

“Our initial focus was to finalise the deal with Rob [Austin] for the coming season, now that’s in place we’re able to push forward with a view to the second car”, added Belcher. “With the pre-approval of the second TBL, we’re in a great position to try and make a two-car team a reality this year.”

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