Tom Oliphant will make an exciting graduation into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this season after signing a deal to compete in the biggest race series in the UK with front-running outfit Ciceley Motorsport.
The 27 year old is determined to make a strong impression and challenge for front-running results in the championship’s landmark 60th anniversary season, an opportunity that comes with the support of a number of backers to be announced in due course.
Oliphant makes the step up to the BTCC in a Mercedes-Benz A-Class, an established car in the series with no less than six race wins and twenty-one podium finishes across the last four seasons in the hands of Ciceley.
The Leamington Spa racer will get his first taste of the Ciceley Mercedes in late February, which will start an extensive pre-season testing programme ahead of the season opener at Brands Hatch on 07/08 April. Prior to that, Oliphant will be announcing his sponsors and unveiling his new livery during the championship’s official pre-season launch day at Donington Park on Tuesday 27th March.
“I’m delighted to announce that I will be stepping up to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this season with Ciceley Motorsport. The BTCC is the biggest championship in the UK and it’s a fantastic opportunity for me and my partners.
“I’m under no illusions as to the challenge facing me this season. It’s my first season in touring cars and I’ll be coming up against a hugely competitive grid filled with talented drivers, but we’re up for the challenge and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
“I’m really happy to be working with Ciceley Motorsport. They are a proven front-running squad in the championship and the Mercedes is an established race-winning car, which combined is a perfect platform for me to be competitive in the series from the off.
“We’re currently finalising deals with sponsors moving forward and look forward to announcing our partners in March, while we’re are always looking to get new companies on-board as we enter the highest-profile series in the UK.”
This season, Oliphant will be eligible to compete in the Independents Drivers’ Championship and the Jack Sears Trophy, which is a class open to all drivers who start the season without an overall podium in the series.
The BTCC is the highest profile motor racing series in the UK, bringing in trackside crowds of on average over 37,000 per meeting across the country, with Oliphant set to compete as part of an expected capacity 32 car grid.
Russell Morgan – Ciceley Motorsport Team Principal:
“These are exciting times for Ciceley Motorsport with Tom joining Adam Morgan. We have two gifted young drivers peddling our Mercedes-Benz A Class' in the BTCC this year.
“As soon as I heard that Tom was available we moved mountains in our quest to sign him. He is exactly the type of driver I want in my squad: professional in and out of the car and blisteringly fast. I expect him to do well in both the Independents and the Jack Sears Trophy.
“Although Tom has no front-wheel drive experience, our cars are very well balanced and we have a comprehensive pre-season test schedule arranged. I am confident that Tom will soon get to grips with the car and be on the pace straight away.”
The former single-seater racer makes the move into the BTCC following four seasons racing on the championship’s support package, with a two year spell in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup culminating in title success in 2015.
Oliphant made the transition to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB the following season and was a front-runner throughout his spell in the series, with six rostrum finishes helping him to two consecutive top four championship finishes.
Alongside his UK campaigns, Oliphant has made selected outings in the Formula One-supporting Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, and is currently the championship leader in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.