Rob Austin has confirmed that he will continue with Handy Motorsport for a second consecutive season with the Toyota Avensis in the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The double BTCC race winner switched to Simon Belcher‘s Handy Motorsport outfit in 2016, collecting a trio of podium finishes during his first season with front-wheel drive BTCC machinery.
Austin described his most recent campaign as a ‘learning’ experience with the Avensis, but a strong finish to the season left him in high spirits for 2017.
“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.”
“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, Belcher, added that he was delighted to retain the services of the Evesham driver, who finished 16th in the Drivers’ Championship with eight top-10 finishes in 2016.
“We’re obviously delighted to be a key part of the Dunlop BTCC stand once again”, said Belcher. “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.”
Austin will appear across all four days of this week’s Autosport International Show, held at Birmingham’s NEC Arena between 12-15 January.