Alfa Romeo brand returns to BTCC for 2018 with dealer team

The Alfa Romeo brand will return to the British Touring Car Championship in 2018 through a dealer team entry to be run by Handy Motorsport

Alfa Romeo brand returns to BTCC for 2018 with dealer team

Handy will field one of the marque's Giuliettas in a multi-year deal.

A car is already being constructed to the BTCC's Next Generation Touring Car regulations and will be raced by Handy's current driver Rob Austin.

The front-wheel drive Giulietta will be fitted with a BTCC TOCA engine in its first season, but a bespoke unit could be developed in future.

Alfa Romeo ran a works team in the BTCC in 1994 and '95, with Gabriele Tarquini claiming the drivers' title in the firm's maiden season (pictured below). It also took the title in 1983 with Andy Rouse, who drove an Alfetta GTV6.

An Alfa last appeared on the BTCC grid in 2007.

"It's been a long project to bring an Alfa Romeo back to the BTCC, with many people working on this exciting development for some time," said Handy Motorsport team principal Simon Belcher, whose squad currently campaigns a Toyota Avensis in the championship.

"It's incredible to have brought everything to fruition and an honour to be running the Alfa Romeo marque.

"Alfa Romeo is a passionate brand, steeped in heritage.

"Not only is this huge for Handy Motorsport, and fantastic for Alfa Romeo to see the latest Giulietta represented on the BTCC grid, it's also massive for the BTCC."

Belcher said the plan to bring Alfa Romeo back to the BTCC grid had been two years in the making.

"Alfa Romeo have been very positive about seeing one of its products back on the grid in the UK's biggest and best motor racing series since we started talking to them," he added.

"While Alfa couldn't support the project financially, it was time to think of how we could make it work.

"Rob Austin and our commercial manager went to meet with the UK dealer council, which is made up of prominent Alfa Romeo dealerships, and presented our plans.

"It was obvious that there was a passion from the dealer network to make this happen."

Although the programme will not be a fully-fledged manufacturer entry, Alfa's 62-strong dealer network in the UK will be encouraged to get behind the project with support.

"It's fantastic to see Alfa Romeo return to the BTCC especially at such an exciting time for Alfa Romeo," said Alfa Romeo UK Dealer Council representative Peter James.

Austin, who was instrumental in putting the deal alongside Belcher, said: "Driving an Alfa Romeo in the British Touring Car Championship next season? It doesn't get much more exciting than that does it?

"I've put a lot of effort into this personally and it means a great deal to me that we've managed to bring all the elements together.

"To be part of this project is extremely exciting for me and everyone at Handy Motorsport intends to make Alfa Romeo a major player in the BTCC again."

shares
comments
Rockingham BTCC: James Cole takes shock maiden career pole
Previous article

Rockingham BTCC: James Cole takes shock maiden career pole

Next article

Rockingham BTCC: Cole takes comfortable maiden win in opener

Rockingham BTCC: Cole takes comfortable maiden win in opener
Load comments
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Plus

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021
The green light shining for the BTCC's hybrid future Plus

The green light shining for the BTCC's hybrid future

The Cosworth Electronics-developed BTCC hybrid system made its public debut in the most recent round at Silverstone. It's simple, but could significantly change the series' technical challenges for both the drivers and the teams

BTCC
Oct 9, 2021
The restored BSCC battler back in its family's hands after 50 years Plus

The restored BSCC battler back in its family's hands after 50 years

The Imps of George Bevan became famous in British Saloon Car Championship competition during the early 1970s. Thanks to the efforts of a small band of enthusiasts, including Bevan's grandson Jonathan, one of the ex-Bill McGovern title winners has recently returned to the race track

Historics
Sep 30, 2021
The increasingly varied CV behind a new BTCC title challenger Plus

The increasingly varied CV behind a new BTCC title challenger

A driver with limited funds behind him, it’s been a tough road to the top of the British Touring Car Championship for Jake Hill. Now he’s a title contender, accomplished historic racer and in-demand coach. It’s a great life for this self-confessed motorsport junkie

BTCC
Aug 26, 2021