Rob Austin is hopeful on-track success will overcome the serious financial difficulties which have dogged his team throughout this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
His Rob Austin Racing outfit has faced a variety of problems since Mark Hazell withdrew from the team after missing the season opener at Brands Hatch.
And after warning they may not be able to continue after Thruxton, Austin admits that even now the team might not make the rest of the season.
“It's a very real threat,” he tells theCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “We have been unlucky with securing a second driver early in the season, so having to cover 100% of the transport, overheads and staff is hard.
“Plus we had already spent the money on the second car to get it up to our spec so we were struggling anyway – then the engine problems and my crash gave us another expensive hit.”
Having finished in the top eight in all three races at the curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch, he went on to have disastrous weekends at Donington and Thruxton, and did not race at Oulton Park, before coming back strongly at Croft with three more top seven finishes.
Ever the fighter, the 31-year-old firmly believes his first win is a matter of when and not if.
He said: “If it wasn't for our shocking luck – I've felt like I've been cursed this season – I'm sure we would have seen it already.
“You have to remember I have only really done two rounds this season. Disregard Donington and Thruxton as we clearly had big engine problems, and Oulton I didn't enter, then look at the results from those two rounds that we did run properly at and you will see every result is inside the top ten and competitive.”
Austin is confident the team will be in good shape at the Norfolk track, after admitting Croft was a missed opportunity, despite a first podium of the season. So could the first win come at Snetterton?
“Definitely,” he says. “The problems at Croft were more a case of 'we could have done better'.
“There are other factors and with the changing boost levels from last season we don't really know where we stand as we go to each circuit. I'm confident we will be strong going to Snetterton though.”
With the worst of their troubles hopefully behind them, he has big ambitions for the team at the remaining races.
“Win all of them! There's only ever one aim. Realistically I expect 3 top ten results as a minimum. How far up the top ten will depend on how the car suits the circuit and how well we do our job on the day.”
With Snetterton just three weeks away Austin is staying optimistic. He is hopeful Will Bratt will commit for the rest of 2012, and believes any potential sponsors would be getting plenty of value in return.
“I'm not giving up. I'm working my a*** off trying to secure a budget and I feel reasonably confident that something will come up, but there are a lot of factors to take in to account. A team mate is a pretty big one, Will hasn't confirmed for the rest of the season yet but having a team mate with a budget confirmed would share the costs and really take the weight off.
If anyone is interested in supporting Rob Austin Racing visit our www.robaustin.com for more information.