HMS Racing to sit out 2020 BTCC season

by Vince Pettit
Rob Austin BTCC Alfa Romeo

Popular British Touring Car Championship team HMS Racing is set to sit out a second season from the series after being forced to sell the TOCA BTCC Licence needed to compete.

Following a successful campaign in 2018 in the newly constructed Alfa Romeo Giulietta, HMS Racing was forced to withdraw their 2019 entry due to a primary sponsor pulling out at the end of the season.

Despite not competing in the series this year the team have continued development of the car and topped the mid-season Dunlop tyre test with Rob Austin behind the wheel of the Giulietta.

With the team not being able to compete in 2019, the team loaded the licence to Motorbase Performance for Nic Hamilton to compete in the series. Unfortunately due to a sponsor pulling out, Hamilton was forced to end his season early, and as a result saw ‘huge financial implications’ placed on the team, leaving them no option but to sell the licence on.

“Being in the BTCC is absolutely where HMS wants to be and where we believe the team should be, we’ve more than confirmed our ability in the championship and we’re all working hard to make a return a reality in the near future,” said team principal Simon Belcher.

“Due to the fact we had to sell our licence though, and with the current Brexit uncertainty creating additional issues around the raising of the necessary sponsorship, it is unlikely our BTCC return will be imminent.

“The full infrastructure of the team is still in place and one of the newest cars on the grid, our Alfa Romeo, is sitting ready to race should a suitable commercial partner be found.”

Belcher added: “We have been offered the lease of another licence, so there is certainly the possibility of a return in the future if everything can be put in place – but it’s unlikely anything can be put together in time for 2020 due to the increased costs of leasing a licence, over owning one.

“It is a great shame we can’t return in 2020, as we’d planned to, but with the financial implication which followed after Nic [Hamilton] was unable to fulfil his commitment to the BTCC we had to either lose our licence or sell it.”

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