Tom Oliphant - racing driver at Brands Hatch

Tarporley-born racing driver Tom Oliphant is eyeing another tilt at the British Touring Car Championship title ahead of the new 2021 season.

Oliphant has re-signed with Team BMW for the 2021 season after a successful campaign in 2020.

It saw him in the winner’s circle for the first time with a memorable victory at Brands Hatch.

And he helped Team BMW achieve their goal of winning both the Teams and Manufacturers titles.

That maiden victory was the highlight of Oliphant’s most successful season in the BTCC to date.

He kicked off the year with a podium finish in the season opener at Donington Park and went on to collect more silverware at Knockhill and Silverstone.

Oliphant was a regular presence in the battles at the front and he recorded 26 points-scoring finishes from 27 races, more than anyone else on the grid.

The 30-year-old is now determined to build on that and push forwards in the championship as he enters his third consecutive season, again teaming up with four-time BTCC champion Colin Turkington.

Oliphant said: “I’m really happy to be back on the BTCC grid this season and continuing my fantastic partnership with Team BMW and West Surrey Racing.

“I made great progress last year and I’m now ready to move up to the next level in the championship.

“Over the last two years, I’ve built a great relationship with the team and Colin [Turkington].

“Further improvements to the car have been made over the winter months and I’m confident that we’ve got the best package on the grid. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

“I’m determined to not only help the team regain the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ title this season, but also fight for the Drivers’ championship as well.

“This is one of the most competitive series in the world and I feel I’m ready now as a driver to challenge at the front.

Oliphant BMW driver at Brands Hatch

“Consistency is key to winning any championship and I need to be regularly scoring more race wins and podium finishes, while getting a first pole position is also a personal target of mine.

“There’s lots to look forward to and I can’t wait to get started.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Tom made a big step forwards in 2020, which I think was largely down to having a year’s experience under his belt with the rear-wheel-drive BMW and feeling ready to push himself to the next level.

“We asked far more of him last year and he responded extremely well both on-track and off it.

“His first win at Brands Hatch – under incredible pressure from behind – was extremely impressive, as was his charge through the field at Silverstone from last to the top five.

“It was obvious to see how much he grew in confidence across the year and his constant improvement was key in enabling us to re-claim the Teams’ Championship for Team BMW.

“I think we’ll see even more from Tom in 2021 and that would be great for both him and us.”

The British Touring Car Championship is the most popular series in the UK.

Across the 2018 campaign, more than 380,000 fans attended 10 race meetings, while the championship’s free-to-air television coverage on ITV reached a total UK audience of over 19 million.

Covid meant all events in 2020 took place behind closed doors.

It’s hoped fans might return to the tracks this year as the 2021 BTCC season gets contested over 10 events between early May and late October.

(Images included are from Jakob Ebrey Photography)

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