‘Next logical step’ for Handy Motorsport
Today’s announcement marks another huge step forward for Handy Motorsport which has, since its debut in the BTCC in 2014, become one of the most popular and respected teams in the paddock – not least since joining forces with fan-favourite driver Rob Austin ahead of the 2016 season.
Initially running team boss Belcher for two seasons, following his graduation into the world of touring cars from the Renault UK Clio Cup where he was a two-time Masters Cup Champion, the team set out its intentions to become serious challengers when signing BTCC race winner Austin.
During his maiden season with Handy in 2016, Austin’s first year racing front-wheel drive in the championship, the Evesham driver secured the squad’s debut BTCC podium at Snetterton as well as Handy’s maiden Independents Trophy victory.
This season, Austin is currently just outside the top 10 in the overall championship and has one podium to his credit along with one pole position. In the Independents Trophy he has achieved one victory, three second places and four other podium finishes and is fourth in the class standings.
For Belcher, the move to an Alfa Romeo for 2018 again confirms the intent which Handy Motorsport has to become a consistent and regular podium finishing and race winning force in the BTCC and he says the partnership with the Dealer Council is the ‘next logical step’ for the team.
“We want to win, we have a great team and that passion runs deep in it”, added Belcher, “In an Alfa Romeo we will have a car which is born from that same passion and I am looking forward to this being an instrumental part of our team’s future. This is undoubtedly the next logical step for us and I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce this exciting partnership today.”
Hugely popular touring car ace Austin is, understandably, equally as elated as team boss Belcher to be working the with legendary Alfa Romeo marque as the beginning of another new chapter in his exciting and successful BTCC career.
“Driving an Alfa Romeo in the British Touring Car Championship next season? It doesn’t get much more exciting than that does it!”, said the multiple BTCC race winner, “I genuinely love the Alfa Romeo brand, I had an Alfa when I was younger and I loved that car. Early on, when Simon [Belcher] and I started talking before I joined the team, working towards this deal was part of the plan.
“Ever since my engineer Matt and I had the Audi, we talked about what we’d love to do working from a blank sheet of paper and that’s what we can do now with the Giulietta. We’ve always wanted this opportunity and we’ve got enough time ahead of next season to do this job properly. The car is well suited to the BTCC regulations, we’re going to build a work of art as much as a racing car!”
Welcoming the announcement, BTCC Series Director Alan Gow said: “What a great name to welcome back! Alfa Romeo has a great history in the BTCC, particularly having won it twice before, and everyone loves the Alfa Romeo brand. Handy Motorsport have been working on this project for the last couple of years and they’ve put their heart and soul into it.
“To have the support of the Alfa Romeo UK Dealer Council means a great deal to them and it means a great deal to me and everyone involved in the BTCC. It goes to show that the people at the sharp end in selling Alfa Romeos see the fantastic value in the BTCC. I’ve even lost count as to exactly how many marques we’ve got in this championship right now, which is also testament to the success of our regulations and the BTCC as a whole.”