SWINDON’S Handy Motorsport team will track a front-wheel drive Alfa Romeo Giulietta from the 2018 British Touring Car Championship season forward, which will be piloted by the squad’s driver Rob Austin.

Handy and TH White Swindon, one of the Alfa Romeo brand centres, have completed a deal for the Giulietta model to contest the outright championship and Independents Trophy.

Team principal Simon Belcher said: “It has been a long project to bring Alfa Romeo back to the BTCC, with many people working on this exciting development for some time – 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, and we have already started building our first bodyshell.

“Not only is this huge for Handy and fantastic for Alfa to have the latest Giulietta represented, it’s massive for the BTCC as a whole.”

Alfa Romeo – which is owned by the FIAT group – hasn’t been represented on a BTCC grid since 2007 and has twice won the coveted BTCC title, the first with Andy Rouse in 1983 at the wheel of an Alfetta GTV6 and the second in 1994 with Italian ace Gabriele Tarquini piloting an Alfa Romeo 155.

The Handy team heads to Silverstone this weekend as the championship enters its final phase.

With only two race meetings remaining, the team and Austin are aiming to end their final season with the Toyota Avensis on a high.

Austin has taken the Avensis to Independents Trophy victory and outright podium glory this year but after misfortune in recent rounds, he is 12th in the main title race and sixth in the Independents.

Austin said: “I think we’ve got the car to be competitive at Silverstone.”