After a series of pre-season tests, which took over the past three weeks, Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship team Handy Motorsport are ready for the annual Media Day at Donington Park – to be held next Tuesday.
The squad is in high spirits, and for good reason. Their star driver, Rob Austin, has seven BTCC campaigns behind him, at the wheel of a Toyota Avensis. Austin has led Handy Motorsport onto their first BTCC podiums, as well as other trophies won in 2016. The experienced driver states that he’s never been as prepared as he is now for a touring car season.
“I’m really, really happy with how testing has gone”, he says. “We already know we have fantastic partners on board with Duo and Northgate, as well as our other great sponsors, and I’m absolutely loving working with the Handy Motorsport guys – the Toyota has been running very well indeed.”
The squad has had multiple visits to both tracks, giving them the opportunities to take in as much information as possible regarding the new Dunlop tyre compound, released ahead of the new season.
Austin also had something to say about the tyre: “I’ve never done so many miles pre-season and we’ve learnt a lot about the new Dunlop tyre, we’ve got a good handle on things for qualifying and in race trim and I’m confident we’re developing a strong all-round package.”
Team principal Simon Belcher, who will this year combine his duties in the BTCC paddock and the day-to-day running of Handy Motorsport with participation in the British Jet Sport Championship, is equally satisfied with the pre-season touring car preparation.
“Things are progressing nicely”, said Belcher, “I am trying to make sure we are the most prepared ever for this season, and I am delighted how the team has gelled together and embraced the move of our whole operation to Swindon over the winter.
Following the annual pre-season Media Day next Thursday, 16th March, which provides the only officially timed collective test before the championship curtain-raiser, the opening three rounds of the new BTCC campaign will take place over the weekend 1st/2nd April at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.