Rob Austin to continue with Handy Motorsport

Rob Austin will remain with Handy Motorsport for the 2017 BTCC campaign after extending his deal with Simon Belcher’s team into a second season.

Austin joined the Toyota squad twelve months ago having elected to call time on Rob Austin Racing’s time in the series; taking the decision to join forces with Belcher to forge a new partnership.

In his first season running with front-wheel drive, Austin secured three podium finishes at the wheel of his Toyota Avensis and ended the year 16th in the championship standings.

Having now agreed terms on a new deal, the 35-year-old will seek to build on the potential seen on track last year to become a regular contender for top six finishes.

Austin’s 2017 livery will be revealed at the Autosport International Show tomorrow [Thursday].

“Firstly, I’m obviously very happy to be part of Handy Motorsport again for the new BTCC season”, he said. “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 boss Belcher meanwhile was understandably pleased to keep Austin onboard.

“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,” he said. “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.”