Handy’s Alfa Romeo switch could mean no Toyota in 2018

Handy Motorsport’s switch to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta for 2018 could mean that Toyota are absent from the grid for the first time since the Next Generation Touring Car regulations were introduced.

Simon Belcher’s team has confirmed it will make the move to build its own car for Rob Austin next year, running a brand new Alfa Romeo Giulietta, bringing the Italian marque back to the championship for the first time in ten years.

This will leave independent drivers’ championship leaders Speedworks Motorsport with the last Toyota Avensis on the grid, just two years after there were five cars running when Team HARD ran three cars in 2016 before they switched to the Volkswagen CC.

However, the Sandbach-based team aren’t committed to continuing with the Avensis next year either, with the team not ruling out other options.

“I don’t think Handy’s plan affects us in any way,” said Speedworks team principal Christian Dick to TouringCarTimes. “There’s no guarantee that we are to stay with Toyota, but it’s too early to make any decisions, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we could change.”

Toyota has been present on the BTCC grid since 2011 and the inception of the NGTC platform, with Speedworks running an Avensis for Tony Hughes and Dynojet Racing entering a car for Frank Wrathall.