- Chris Ashby
Tom Oliphant Signs Off Best BTCC Season To Date At Brands Hatch
Tom Oliphant has brought the curtain down on his best Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season to-date at Brands Hatch this past weekend (November 14/15) by helping Team BMW wrap up both the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championship titles. On what proved to be an action-packed final day of the season at the Kent venue, the West Surrey Racing driver scored a trio of points finishes to secure a career-high sixth place in the overall Drivers’ Championship. The 30-year-old’s sophomore season with West Surrey Racing has been one to remember as the 330i M Sport racer scored a sensational maiden win at the second event of the year at Brands Hatch, as well as picking up a further three podium finishes along the way. After fine-tuning the car during Saturday’s solitary practice session, the British Racing Driver’s Club member battled challenging wet conditions in qualifying to hustle his rear-wheel-drive machine to the 12th fastest time overall. With conditions having only worsened come race day, the opening encounter around the Indy layout proved to be a frenetic affair. Fighting his way to tenth in the early stages, the Sports Alive-backed race-winner held position behind team-mate Colin Turkington all the way to the chequered flag. Race two a few hours later saw drivers line up on the grid in vastly contrasting conditions with a majority of the grid, including Oliphant, opting for slick tyres. Enjoying a strong start, Oliphant vaulted himself up to fifth before he found himself on the receiving end of contact. Unfortunately, whilst part of a long line of cars all battling for second place, Oliphant’s race unraveled as he suffered a tap at Graham Hill Bend, sending him spinning off the track and down the order. Rejoining towards the rear of the field, the BMW ace managed to claw his way back to 15th and secure a solitary point. Starting the final race of the season on the eighth row of the grid, the former Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion added to his points tally with a 13th place finish amidst treacherous conditions once again Tom Oliphant: “It was a challenging weekend for us as a team as we just didn’t have the car in the window to properly be in the mix in those wet conditions. “Qualifying was tough and we made the best of things in race one. I really felt we had the pace in the car for a top five or even a podium in race two but I was once again the victim of contact which ruined my chances. Race three was difficult but we still came away with three points finishes. “Overall I’m incredibly proud to have finished in sixth place overall. Considering where I was last year I’ve really elevated my game to the next level and that has shown in my results. “I helped bring BMW the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championship titles, got my first win and a few podiums as well. It’s been the best year of my motorsport career in terms of what I’ve achieved and I’m keen to carry this on into next year.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.