After taking his first British Touring Car Championship win in last year, Tom Oliphant has been rewarded with a renewed contract with the BMW team for 2021.
The Tarporley-born driver finished sixth in last season’s drivers’ standings with three podiums to go along with the win at Brands Hatch, Kent.
“Claiming my first win was amazing,” said Oliphant, “It was definitely one of my career highlights because I don’t think a lot of drivers realise how hard it is to get that first win.
“It was an amazing feeling but a shame that the fans weren’t there, although I did have my family and my team so it was still very special.”
The 30-year-old enjoyed his best BTCC season in 2020, largely thanks to driving for the manufacturer BMW team who have won the series multiple times for both drivers and teams championships.
He’ll partner four-time champion Colin Turkington once again and Oliphant is looking forward to learning more from the Northern Irishman and pushing him further than he has before.
Oliphant said: “Colin helped me massively adapting to rear-wheel drive touring cars. You always want the best drivers as your teammate because if you can beat them, you’re instantly put in the same bracket as them.
“One of the first questions I asked when I joined was ‘Is Colin coming back?’ and thankfully he did which was the icing on the cake for me. You learn a lot from having world class drivers in the same car as you.”
Before joining the series with Ciceley Motorsport in 2018, Oliphant raced in Porsche’s which saw much less of the argy-bargy that makes the BTCC the most watched British championship in the world.
But despite the increase in intensity and physicality, Oliphant has enjoyed being able to be more aggressive out on track.
He said: “I love close racing, that’s why I race. I always through the Porsche round like I meant it and pulled off some good overtakes.
“I don’t mind a bit of rubbing here and there, someone throwing it up the inside and ‘moving’ you onto the grass to slow you down.
“What I hate is when people sometimes purposely try to put you off, there are some drivers that will just drive into the side of you down the straight to dent your car, thankfully, racing at the front, I don’t see them often so it’s usually pretty clean.”
Oliphant will begin pre-season testing in the next month with the opening round of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship due to take place on May 8/9 at the high-speed rollercoaster that is Thruxton in Hampshire.