HMS Racing’s new Alfa Romeo Giuletta hit the track for the first time ahead of its British Touring Car Championship debut this season.
BTCC race winner Rob Austin tested the Alfa at Dontington Park and, though his morning running was hampered by a problem with the fuel tank pump, he was pleased with the test.
“It went really well,” he said. “I am really proud of everyone involved; it has been a great day.
“We believe we’ve built an awesome car, but you’re never quite sure until you hit the track. We still have so much to do of course, but we are hugely excited and even more optimistic than we were before.”
HMS announced it would be switching to Alfa machinery last summer, with team boss Simon Belcher calling it the next logical step for the team at the time.
Following the first test of the new car, Belcher revealed the team could have been running the Alfa in 2017, but wanted to take its time to get the car right.
“We have been working towards this day for some time,” he said. “This project has been years in the making and the build of the car has been a lengthy process too.
“There was a chance to make it happen in 2017, but I always said that you can’t start building a car at Christmas and expect to be competitive come the start of the season.
“It was paramount that we started the build in July and we were able to announce the programme at Rockingham last August. To be on track six weeks before the new season is a great achievement, but we obviously still have a lot of work to do.”
The Swindon-based squad will now continue to work on the Alfa’s chassis before an extensive testing programme at Brands Hatch next month.