Team BMW driver Tom Oliphant is keen to build on what was a positive first season with West Surrey Racing as he ended his 2019 with a battling performance at Brands Hatch.
After a career-best fourth place on the grid in qualifying, race one saw Oliphant struggle along with the other rear wheel driver runners in worsening conditions under the safety car. After a strong start, when the race restarted Oliphant fell back through the back as he scrambled for grip on slick tyres and would end the race in 16th.
Race two ended before it began as Oliphant found himself part of a multi-car accident at Paddock Hill Bend on lap one. Oliphant’s BMW 3 Series was too damaged to continue, and he retired from the race on the spot, relegating him to the back of the grid for race two.
Race three marked one of Oliphant’s strongest races of the year as he climbed from 30th and last on the grid to 10th by the checkered flag. The result meant that Oliphant consolidated 11th place in the overall championship standings and 2nd in the Jack Sears Trophy standings.
Speaking after his race three charge through the pack, Oliphant said “What a way to end the season! Starting in the 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.”
Oliphant was pleased with the progress he had made in 2019, in his first year of driving the West Surrey Racing BMW 3 Series. Assessing his season as a whole he continued “I’ve had 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 winning the overall title is amazing. Its been a really special year and I have to congratulate every single person that has played a part in it.”
2019 saw Oliphant score his first BTCC podium finish at Donington Park early in the season, which he followed up with a 2nd place finish at Oulton Park in June. Some strong 2019 results mean that he is positive about further progress in 2020. “Looking ahead, I 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 excited for the future.”