Former British Touring Car Championship race winner Rob Austin will make a return to the series during this weekend's Thruxton event after securing a last-minute deal to race the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.

Austin replaces Mike Bushell, who has been advised to sit out this weekend's Thruxton round on medical grounds after suffering a dislocated shoulder and ligament damage during the race three pile-up at Knockhill last month.

This weekend's fifth round of the 2020 season will mark Austin's first BTCC appearance since the final round of the 2018 campaign at Brands Hatch.

The 39-year old was forced into a sabbatical for 2019 after his HMS Racing Alfa Romeo squad pulled out of the series following the 2018 season.

Prior to his injury, Bushell had hoped to remain in the Vauxhall for Thruxton, with Jade Edwards having already been confirmed to race the PMR Astra for next weekend's Silverstone round.

“When I got the call from Adam [Weaver, PMR Team Principal], I just couldn’t say no!” said Austin.

“I’ve seen how good the car can be around Thruxton, and I love the circuit. There are some hurdles to overcome; there’s the obvious new driver ballast that I’ll have to drag around with me, but I also haven’t driven competitively for nearly two years now, so I don’t know how rusty I will be.

"I will be doing everything in my power to overcome these as quickly as possible, and if I do a good job then there is every potential to show well come Sunday afternoon.”

PMR team boss Adam Weaver is hoping Austin can translate the Vauxhall Astra's promising pace into results that the car deserves.

“Obviously a last-minute drive change is less than ideal, but when it became obvious that Mike would be unable to drive this weekend, I was straight on the phone to Rob,” said Weaver.

“We’ve had a great relationship for a while, having known each other since school and he’s known for being a fearsome driver that takes no prisoners when he’s on track.

"We’ve shown the pace of this car this year without question, albeit with bad luck marring results, and I’m really looking forward to seeing him get to grips with the car. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for some luck this weekend!”