Tom Oliphant has signed with reigning British Touring Car champions West Surrey Racing for the 2109 season, where he will race a BMW 125i M Sport for his second season in touring cars.
Oliphant raced a Mercedes-Benz for Ciceley Motorsport in his first season in the BTCC in 2018, securing a best finish of seventh at Knockhill on his way to finishing the season 22nd overall in the drivers’ standings.
The Cheshire driver also made a name for himself as a strong qualifier, after getting into the top ten on five occasions.
With a previous pedigree on the TOCA support package, in both the Ginetta GT4 Supercup where he was the 2015 champion, and the Porsche Carrera Cup GB where he secured four podium finishes in two seasons, Oliphant is making another move up in his racing career.
The 28-year-old will now switch teams to one of the most coveted seats in the paddock after announcing that he would join WSR for the 2019 campaign.
“It’s truly a dream come true to become a West Surrey Racing driver in the British Touring Car Championship in 2019,” said Oliphant.
“Ever since I started looking at the BTCC as an option in my career, I knew that WSR and BMW were the package I wanted to be part of.
“WSR are for me the best team on the BTCC grid. With ten overall titles in the past ten seasons and with over 600 races under their belt, it was clear to me that they have the experience and expertise I need to help me progress into a front-runner in this championship.
“I raced front-wheel drive machinery in my first year in the BTCC and I’ve won titles in rear-wheel drive cars, so I’m comfortable in both and feel I can build on everything I learnt in my debut BTCC season and really push for the front of the grid in 2019.
“A lot of drivers have enjoyed success with WSR during their time in the BTCC and I don’t plan to be an exception. I have clear targets for 2019; I want to take overall wins and podium results, finish in the top ten in the points and compete for the Jack Sears Trophy.
“This is a hugely exciting opportunity and we are currently finalising deals with partners for the 2019 season and look forward to announcing them in the New Year, while we’re always looking to get new companies on-board as we continue our journey in the highest-profile series in the UK.”
WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts is hopeful of turning Oliphant, who has yet to claim a podium and is therefore once again eligible for the Jack Sears’ Trophy, into a race winner with the Surrey-based team.
“We’re very pleased to be able to announce Tom as the first member of our 2019 line-up,” said Bennetts. “We have a long history of working with young drivers and turning them into front-runners and champions, and we’re sure Tom has all the right attributes to achieve his potential with us.
“We were impressed with him in the BTCC support categories and the speed he showed in his rookie season in 2018 has convinced us that he’ll be the ideal driver to help us push on and achieve our aim of even more success in 2019.”