Rob Austin has been retained by Handy Motorsport for the 2017 British Touring Car Championship as he targets a sustained challenge at the sharp end of the grid in the new season.

After joining the Handy Motorsport set-up last year and reaching the podium on three occasions, Austin ended the campaign 16th in the overall BTCC drivers' championship and sixth in the Independents' Trophy.

Austin will return to the Toyota Avensis for a second straight year and is keen to build upon the solid foundations set out in 2016 to produce a more consistent fight at the front this season.

"I'm very happy to be part of Handy Motorsport again for the new BTCC season," Austin said. "We always knew there would be a learning curve relating to all aspects in 2016, driving, engineering, management and personnel.

"The BTCC is so competitive, all of these aspects have to be perfect to get to the front and I will admit it took longer than I expected.

"Our continuous improvement each time out through the second half of last season, though, capped off with a front row qualifying and a great podium at one of my weakest tracks to round the year off, shows that we just about got there in the end. There is no reason that form won't continue, so it's exciting to be going into the 2017 season with a car that can win and is so well supported."

Handy Motorsport has also switched its Wiltshire headquarters to Swindon, having previously worked out of the Speedworks Motorsport workshops for the past three years, but is now able to operate as a standalone entry.