Oliphant Enjoys ‘Feel Good’ BTCC Return At Thruxton
Tom Oliphant enjoyed a memorable one-off return to the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship this past weekend (August 27/28) as he charged to a top 20 finish around the fastest circuit in the UK, Thruxton.
The 32-year-old - who contested four seasons in the series before stepping back from full time racing at the end of 2021 to move to Australia with his fiancée Gen - stepped in last-minute to fill a vacant seat at Team HARD.
Running under the Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero banner in a Cupra Leon, the two-time race winner reacquainted himself with the hustle and bustle of the UK’s premier motor sport series in front of a bumper trackside crowd in Hampshire.
Despite being unable to post a lap time in qualifying on Saturday due to a mechanical issue out of his control, Oliphant produced a superb showing on race day as he charged from the back of the grid to a pair of 24th place finishes before then breaking into the top 20 in the reverse grid contest.
Tom Oliphant: “What a weekend! If you’d have a said a week ago that I’d be back driving in the BTCC then I wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve got to say a massive thank you to Team HARD. for giving me the opportunity - I’ve really enjoyed it!
“It’s been almost a year since I last raced so to jump not only back into the championship but also front-wheel-drive was a challenge. You can’t underestimate how tough this series is; everyone is at the top of their game and coming back in after being away you really, really see that.
“We’ve worked hard throughout the weekend to improve the car and it was the best it had felt for me in that last race. I had a great feeling underneath me and was able to enjoy some good battles; if we had a few more laps I think we could have been knocking on the door of the points positions.
“It’s been fantastic to be able to catch up with all the drivers, former colleagues and of course the fans. The amount of people that attended the pit lane autograph session was amazing and I’ve met so many people that were asking how Australia was going - it was lovely.
“The fans are what make the BTCC and I’m really grateful for all of their support this weekend. It was nice to scratch that motorsport itch again too; now its back to enjoying my holiday here before heading back to the other side of the world.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.