MORE than seven months since HMS Racing was last in action, taking a superb podium in the final round of the 2018 British Touring Car Championship, the Swindon team will make its competitive track return this Saturday for the opening two rounds of the brand new Dunlop Touring Car Trophy.

Oulton Park International Circuit in Cheshire is the venue for the start of the inaugural season of TCT, where HMS is targeting a successful year, with highly regarded young driver Alex Day at the wheel of their Audi A4.

Colchester-based Day arrives in TCT with a year of experience in the Audi, having raced the car last season in the Britcar Endurance Championship.

Prior to that he competed in the BTCC-supporting Ginetta Junior Championship, having begun his career in the Junior Saloon Car Championship.

Recent pre-season testing with HMS has proven fruitful and with key tutelage from HMS Racing’s BTCC race winner Rob Austin, who has worked with Day for several years, the partnership is eyeing a very strong start to the campaign.

HMS team principal Simon Belcher said: “Alex has done a great job in testing and has made strong progress.

“The team is working well and Alex is understanding more and more about the Audi and working closely with Rob on the data, which is always very important.

“We’re pleased with the development we’ve done with the car and everyone is feeling confident for the first round at Oulton.”

Day is just as enthusiastic about his chances in the Touring Car Trophy, and is relishing the prospect of getting the season underway at Oulton Park a few days from now – a venue renowned as a true test of driver and machine.

He said: “The car is performing brilliantly after HMS fettled it over the winter, it shows the team’s innate understanding of the car.

“I’ve been very pleased with how testing has gone. When we tested at Donington recently, we set times which would have put me mid-grid at the BTCC Media Day, which was very encouraging.

“We still have work to do, and I’m under no illusions there will be some good competition out there, but I’m very much looking forward to the TCT season with a great team behind me and great car under me. It’s fantastic to be starting off the season at Oulton Park too, it’s an incredible track.”

Since the championship was announced last year, it was confirmed in April the Touring Car Trophy would merge with the TCR UK Championship – the latter entering its second season in 2019. Day will therefore compete in the NGTC class.