Handy Motorsport will bring the legendary Alfa Romeo name back to the BTCC in 2018 after announcing they will run the Giulietta, with fan favourite Rob Austin behind the wheel.
In what will be the Independent outfits fifth campaign in Britain’s premier race series, the team have joined forces with the Alfa Romeo Dealer Council to field the front-wheel-drive machine.
Alfa Romeo has a rich history in the BTCC, winning the coveted title on two occasions. Andy Rouse was the first champion for the marque in 1983, piloting the Alfetta GTV6. Gabriele Tarquini was the second driver to prevail, claiming the title in 1994 at the wheel of the 155 model.
Despite its rich history in the series, the Alfa brand hasn’t been present on the grid since 2007 when three 156’s were driven by David Pinkney, Richard Marsh and Eoin Murray.
Work on the Giulietta has been ongoing for some time however the concept at bring the Italian brand to the grid has been on Simon Belcher’s, Handy Motorsport Team Principal, radar for some time.
“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 the Alfa Romeo marque,” Handy Team Principal Simon Belcher said.
“Alfa Romeo is a passionate brand, steeped in heritage, and we have already started building our first body shell. Not only is this huge for Handy Motorsport, and fantastic for Alfa to have the Giulietta represented on the BTCC grid, it’s also massive for the BTCC as a whole.
For Belcher, the move to running an Alfa Romeo affirms the teams intent to continue its push towards becoming a consistent and regular front running outfit capable of podiums
He added: “We want to win, we have a great team and that passion runs deep in it. 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.”
Peter James, Alfa Romeo UK Dealer Council representative, added: “It is fantastic to see Alfa Romeo return to the BTCC especially at such an exciting time for the brand.
“Alfa Romeo returning to the BTCC has been driven by the desire of the Dealer Council to see the marque back on the grid.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Handy Motorsport