HMS Alfa Romeo squad drops off BTCC grid

The HMS Racing team will sit-out the 2019 BTCC campaign, but plans to return to the category in 2020.

HMS Alfa Romeo squad drops off BTCC grid

The Swindon-based team ran Rob Austin in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta in 2018, but due to “several factors” the squad will now take a sabbatical.

Its TOCA BTCC licence is on loan to Motorbase Performance for next season.

Team principal Simon Belcher said: “We are beyond disappointed HMS Racing will not be on the BTCC grid next year after five years of continual progression.

"Very unfortunately, we have had hurdles placed in front of us which we simply can’t overcome in the timeframe to meet the registration deadline (December 1).”

Driver Rob Austin added: “This is heart-breaking news, we worked so hard to bring the Alfa Romeo to the BTCC grid and we worked through the tough period of development that’s required with a new car.

"We felt we were making progress and, with a solid winter testing programme, believe we would have enjoyed a strong 2019.

“As a team we did all we could and working for Simon and the HMS Racing team for the last three years has been an absolute pleasure, I would like to thank them for all their hard work and support. It’s quite late in the day, so I am not sure what 2019 holds for me as a driver.”

Handy Motorsport, which became HMS Racing in 2018, was formed by Belcher when he was racing himself.

Belcher contested Legends and three years of the Renault UK Clio Cup before switching to the British Touring Car Championship in 2014. He was 27th in the standings in 2015.

Austin joined the team in 2016 taking over the controls of the Toyota Avensis, which was initially overseen by Speedworks Motorsport.

However, the team branched out on its own in 2017 and Austin won the final round of that year’s contest for the team.

HMS Racing built the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta for 2018. Austin scored two podiums in the Italian hatchback on his way to 14th in the standings.

The announcement that HMS Racing will take a sabbatical comes as the BTCC issued a list of 30 entries for the 2019 campaign, down from a previous maximum of 32.

Series director Alan Gow had previously expressed his desire to reduce the size of the grid to counter a situation he described as "bursting at the seams".

Confirmed 2019 BTCC entries:

Team

Entries

Aiden Moffat Racing

1

AmD/Cobra Exhausts

2

AmD/Trade Price Cars

2

BTC Racing

2

Ciceley Motorsport

2

Excelr8 Motorsport

2

Motorbase Performance

3*

Power Maxed Racing

2

Simpson Racing

1

Speedworks Motorsport

1

Team Parker Racing

1

Team BMR

2

Team Dynamics

2

Team HARD

4

West Surrey Racing

3

*including one TBL on loan from HMS Racing

shares
comments
Toyota GB moniker returns to BTCC grid

Previous article

Toyota GB moniker returns to BTCC grid

Next article

WSR reveals first 2019 BTCC signing

WSR reveals first 2019 BTCC signing
Load comments

About this article

Series BTCC
Author Matt James
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Prime

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s been a lot of fat to chew elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action.

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Prime

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes.

BTCC
May 5, 2021
The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020

The 2020 British Touring Car Championship will go down as a classic in which new winners graced the top step of the podium and an unloved chassis was resurrected into a champion. But who were the year's top performers?

BTCC
Dec 24, 2020
The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020 Prime

The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020

The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp…

BTCC
Dec 11, 2020
Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong Prime

Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong

A number of drivers on this year's British Touring Car Championship grid have been called out on social media for taking other people's seats, whether they are older or drivers who are deemed to have less talent. Matt James busts the myth

BTCC
Mar 27, 2019
How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other Prime

How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other

The BTCC keeps getting more competitive - this season produced another new record number of winners. That made picking a final top 10 an unenviable task, so we enlisted the help of those who were in the heat of the action to decide the order.

BTCC
Nov 2, 2018
Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race? Prime

Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race?

Titles should be won by the driver who claims more victories than anyone else, so convention goes. Does the unpredictable nature of the British Touring Car Championship render that notion obsolete?

BTCC
Oct 10, 2018
BTCC's hybrid future faces urgent hurdles Prime

BTCC's hybrid future faces urgent hurdles

The British Touring Car Championship recently announced it is investigating how to incorporate hybrid technology into its future machines. In doing so it's following the higher echelons of motorsport, while also revealing risks for its grassroots.

BTCC
Aug 19, 2018