Tom Oliphant hails ‘mega first season’ with WSR and BMW

Tom Oliphant hails ‘mega first season’ with WSR and BMW

Tom Oliphant
Photo: PSP Images

Tom Oliphant described his first season with WSR and BMW as ‘mega’ and says he has ‘laid some good foundations’ towards achieving race wins and being in championship contention next year.

Oliphant ended his second season in the British Touring Car Championship just outside the top ten in 11th overall in the drivers’ standings, with the 29-year-old recording two visits to the podium during the year.

It marked an upturn in form for the Cheshire-born driver, who had just one year previously recorded just five top ten finishes; in 2019 he managed to finish inside the top ten on 14 occasions.

At the season finale at Brands Hatch, Oliphant qualified in a season-best fourth for race one, just one tenth behind team-mate Andrew Jordan.

The weather turned the form book upside down for race one, and Oliphant could only manage 16th after struggling for grip on slick tyres on a wet and greasy circuit.

Race two then saw Oliphant involved in a shunt at Paddock Hill Bend on lap one and his race was over, leaving him with an uphill task in the final race of the season.

A determined drive in race three though saw Oliphant gain an impressive 20 positions, ending the year with a solid tenth place finish.

“What a way to end the season,” said Oliphant. “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 now 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 [Turkington] obviously winning the overall title for a fourth year is amazing – it has been a really special year and I have to congratulate every single person that has played a part in it.”

Oliphant is optimistic about the 2020 season after a first year in rear-wheel drive machinery at West Surrey Racing.

“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.”