HMS Racing’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta has broken cover for the first time, completing a maiden test at Donington Park as preparations begin to ramp up ahead of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

Unveiling the car at the Autosport Show International last month, the front-wheel-drive machine made its track debut with Rob Austin at the wheel, a significant milestone for the Independent outfit as a whole.

Announcing that they would switch from the Toyota Avensis to Alfa Romeo last summer, HMS Racing have worked tirelessly to build the car from the ground up.

“We have been working towards this day for some time,” said Team Principal Simon Belcher. “This project has been years in the making and the build of the car has been a lengthy process too. There was a chance to make it happen in 2017, but I always said that you can’t start building a car at Christmas and expect to be competitive come the start of the season.

“It was paramount that we started the build in July and we were able to announce the programme at Rockingham last August. To be on track six weeks before the new season is a great achievement, but we obviously still have a lot of work to do.”

Tackling damp conditions in the morning at the Leicestershire-based venue, Austin clocked a majority of his laps in the afternoon as dry conditions set in, filling him with pride.

“It went really well,” added Austin. “I am really proud of everyone involved; it has been a great day.

“We believe we’ve built an awesome car, but you’re never quite sure until you hit the track. We still have so much to do of course, but we are hugely excited and even more optimistic than we were before.”

HMS Racing are set to complete further chassis work before continuing their extensive pre-season test programme at Brands Hatch, scene of the season-opener, in two weeks’ time.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography