- Simon Paice
Tom Oliphant Stays With Team BMW For 2020 BTCC
Following a fantastic season together this year, rising star Tom Oliphant will remain with reigning champions Team BMW for the 2020 British Touring Car Championship behind the wheel of one of their all-conquering BMW 330i M Sport. Oliphant enjoyed a fantastic 2019 campaign with the Surrey-based outfit, firmly establishing himself as a front-running force in the UK’s premier race series. Regularly battling for podium finishes in his sophomore BTCC campaign, his efforts helped BMW win the Manufacturers’ title. With team-mate Colin Turkington winning the Drivers’ crown, Team BMW successfully continued their record of being the most successful team in recent BTCC history, with a remarkable tally of twelve overall titles in the past eleven seasons alone. It was a breakthrough season for Oliphant, who made an immediate impact with the team by securing a maiden outright podium finish in the fourth race of the year at Donington Park. He went on to record a seasons’ best result of second on home tarmac at Oulton Park in Cheshire. The Cheshire-born racer highlighted his raw speed and potential by recording three race fastest laps across the campaign, a tally beaten by only one other driver on the grid, while he took the battle for the Jack Sears Trophy class title down to the final weekend of the season. Oliphant, who is a member of the prestigious British Racing Drivers’ Club, will return to the grid in 2020 determined to challenge for overall success in the series, as well as aid Team BMW in their quest for Teams’ and Manufacturers’ glory. Tom Oliphant: “I couldn’t be happier to be continuing with Team BMW for the 2020 British Touring Car Championship season. I loved every second racing with them this year, they are a fantastic team and have really helped me develop as a driver. “With the experience and expertise of the WSR team behind me, I feel I made good progress as a BTCC driver across the campaign. Getting onto the overall podium a couple of times were the highlights of the year, and I can build on those performances in 2020. “In Team BMW and the BMW 330i M Sport, I am racing with the best package on the grid. We’ve got an extensive pre-season testing programme scheduled for the new year and I’m confident I can hit the ground running and challenge for victories from race one onwards.” Dick Bennetts - Team Principal: “From the first time Tom drove the new BMW 330i M Sport in March, it was clear he was someone who would really benefit from being back in a rear-wheel-drive car, and his progress during the year was strong as he learnt the car and developed the relationship with his engineer. “Nobody qualified inside the top 10 more often than Tom, he set more fastest laps in the second half of the season than any other driver and led a race for the first time. Taking what he’s learned in 2019 and adding in a winter of development for the 3 Series, Tom will be an even stronger proposition in 2020.” The British Touring Car Championship is the most popular series in the UK. Across the 2018 campaign, over 380,000 fans attended the ten race meetings, while the championship’s free-to-air television coverage on ITV reached a total UK audience of over 19 million. The 2020 BTCC season will once again be contested over ten events. Starting at Donington Park in late March, it will visit Silverstone (twice), Thruxton, Oulton Park, Croft, Snetterton and Knockhill, before a second visit of the year to Brands Hatch ends the campaign in October.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.