Simon Belcher eyeing a replacement for three BTCC events

British Touring Car Championship driver Simon Belcher intends to vacate his seat for part of the second half of the season due to budget issues

Simon Belcher eyeing a replacement for three BTCC events

The Handy Motorsport driver will compete at Croft this weekend but said he would have to miss the races at Snetterton, Knockhill and Rockingham as a legacy of the £40,000 bill incurred in a qualifying crash at Thruxton.

Speedworks Motorsport, which runs Belcher's Handy entry, rebuilt the Toyota Avensis for Oulton Park but Belcher said the hit to the budget meant he would not be able to complete the entire season.

He intends to get a substitute driver in his absence, with main backer Karcher helping part-subsidising the drive, which AUTOSPORT understands he would be allowed to do without losing his TOCA BTCC Licence as he will be returning to the seat.

"Stepping aside from racing after Croft hasn't been an easy decision to reach personally, we've discussed this at length as a team and bringing in another driver is definitely the best move for the immediate and long term future of Handy Motorsport," said Belcher, who claimed his first BTCC point earlier this season.

"Our plan is to be in the BTCC for the long term and to grow the team, so it makes absolute sense to look at putting another driver - who can bring some budget - in the car for a few races while we rebalance everything

"Ideally, we want to announce my replacement during the run up to Snetterton after the summer break. It will be a part-subsidised drive as funding is in place from our existing sponsorship base, so that offers us a great opportunity to talk to a wide variety of drivers - some with BTCC experience."

Speedworks boss Christian Dick told AUTOSPORT his team would be involved in choosing a replacement.

"We'll definitely have an influence to a certain degree but ultimately it's Simon's choice," he said. "It's the same as always, we want to put the best person for the job in there."

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