Britain’s Handy Motorsport has announced it is bringing the Alfa Romeo brand back to the British Touring Car Championship. The Swindon-based team, which is headed-up and owned by former BTCC driver Simon Belcher, will field a front-wheel drive Alfa Romeo Giulietta from the 2018 season forward which will be driven by current driver Rob Austin.
According to Handy, the project has been ongoing for some time and the completion of the deal for the team to run the Giulietta model – which will contest the outright championship and Independents Trophy – comes through a partnership with the Alfa Romeo Dealer Council and is supported by the UK’s dealer network.
“It has been a long project to bring Alfa Romeo back to the BTCC, with many people working on this exciting development for some time – it’s incredible to have brought everything to fruition and an honour to be running such a marque,” said Handy Motorsport team principal Simon Belcher at the launch. “It is a passionate brand, steeped in heritage, and we have already started building our first bodyshell. Not only is this huge for Handy Motorsport, and fantastic for Alfa to have the latest Giulietta represented on the BTCC grid, it’s also massive for the BTCC as a whole.”
On two occasions the Italian OEM has won the coveted BTCC title, the first with Andy Rouse in 1983 at the wheel of an Alfetta GTV6 and the second coming in 1994 with Italian ace Gabriele Tarquini piloting a 155 TI.
“It is fantastic to see Alfa Romeo return to the BTCC especially at such an exciting time for the brand,” added Alfa Romeo UK Dealer Council representative Peter James. “Alfa Romeo returning to the BTCC has been driven by the desire of the Dealer Council to see the marque back on the grid.”
“We want to win, we have a great team and that passion runs deep in it,” concluded Belcher. “In an Alfa Romeo we will have a car which is born from that same passion and I am looking forward to this being an instrumental part of our team’s future. This is undoubtedly the next logical step for us and I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce this exciting partnership today.”