Rob Austin will race for Simon Belcher‘s Handy Motorsport squad in the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, racing an updated Toyota Avensis.
Revealed at the Autosport Show at Birmingham’s NEC Arena on Thursday (14 January), Austin will now take over the driving duties of Belcher’s Toyota Avensis in 2016, updated to new BTCC specification with the required RML parts in place.
The popular Austin previously competed in the championship with an Independent outfit since 2011 with Audi A4 machinery, clinching two race victories along the way.
2015 was a difficult season for the former British F3 racer however, finishing 14th overall in the Drivers’ Championship with a best result of fifth all year.
“I’m really excited to be joining forces with Handy Motorsport”, said Austin, “The new car is a lot more suited to the [championship] regulations than my Audis were and through this deal we’re combining the best bits of both teams. I think we should be able to do a really good job with the new Toyota and spring some surprises.
Belcher meanwhile admitted that he and his new driver clicked instantly when discussing their intentions, the former having wanted to bring in an experienced and proven BTCC driver.
“It goes without saying, we are absolutely ecstatic to announce Rob as our new driver for 2016”, said Handy team boss, Belcher. “He’s a quality driver, a proven race winner in touring cars, and brings a huge amount of experience to the team.
“We’ve been discussing the possibility of working together for a while and, thanks to a new sponsor package, we’ve been able to put this programme together. We’re at the start of a very exciting period in the team’s BTCC story and very much looking forward to making big strides this season.”