Tom Oliphant Ends ‘Special’ BTCC Season On A High At Brands Hatch
Tom Oliphant served up a stunning drive in the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch this past weekend (October 12/13) to bring what he called a ‘special’ year with West Surrey Racing and BMW to a close a high. On what turned out to be one of the most dramatic final weekends the BTCC has ever seen, the 330i M Sport driver played a pivotal role in helping the team retain their Manufacturer/Constructors Championship crown. The 29-year-old emerged as one of the stars of the show from a rain-affected qualifying session on Saturday, powering his rear-wheel-drive machine to a career-best fourth place. Challenging weather conditions would continue to play their part during the opening race of the day on Sunday. Scrambling for grip on slick tyres, conditions continued to deteriorate and the Sports Alive and Haines Watts London-backed driver could only hang on to 16th. Oliphant’s second race was unfortunately over before it really begun as he found himself the innocent party in a multi-car incident at Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap. Lining up on the back row of the grid for the final race of the year, the British Racing Drivers’ Club member delivered a mesmerising season-ending performance - charging from 30th and last on the grid to the top ten. Showcasing his overtaking prowess at every opportunity that presented itself, Oliphant threaded his way into the top 20 by the third lap and continued to march his way through the order; crossing the line in tenth as the chequered flag flew for the final time in 2019. Tom Oliphant: “What a way to end the season! Starting in last place in that final race I had one focus, and that was to give it the full send and see how far forward I could get. The car was just unbelievable; the team did a fantastic job to fix it and get me out. “On the whole it has been a mega first season with WSR and BMW. From the outside you hear about how good they are but to have no experienced it, they really are on another level and what everyone has achieved in quite astonishing. “To come away with the BTCC Manufacturer/Constructors Championship with a new car and Colin obviously winning the overall title for a fourth year amazing - it has been a really special year and I have to congratulate every single person that has played a part in it. “Looking ahead, I really think we have laid some good foundations to continue moving forward next year. I’ve had podiums and been a regular in the top ten, so next up is to chase wins and championships - I’m really excited for the future.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.