Tom Oliphant hungry for more after positive debut
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series debutant Tom Oliphant proved his frontrunning pace despite a short build-up approaching the the opening round of his campaign at AWC Race Tasmania.
The first international full-time driver to race in the series, Oliphant was required to adjust not only after a season away from the sport, but also to front-wheel-drive competition and a new team in the form of Autoglym Ashley Seward Motorsport.
Having entered and won races with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR during the past three seasons of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia, Ashley Seward Motorsport provided Oliphant an experienced environment to learn.
One advantage for Oliphant was a four-hour pre-event tyre test and a new tyre to all drivers as Kumho will supply the category’s control tyre for the first time. Further track action on Friday provided another opportunity for the Englishman to learn the Alfa Romeo, the tyre and Symmons Plains.
Finishing a best of fourth in Race 2 highlighted a positive debut round in Australia for Oliphant, adding to his seventh and fifth in the other pair of events.
“The weekend was incredibly positive,” said Oliphant.
“I came in wanting three top five finishes, so to get two out of three is very pleasing. We went in the wrong direction in qualifying and the car wasn’t to my liking, but we worked well together to bring it back for the races.
Oliphant’s results demonstrate rapid progression as he targets a maiden podium at Phillip Island next round where he will have more time to learn compared to the early season start.
“Every session I was getting more comfortable with front-wheel drive again, the car and the track,” Oliphant reflected.
“Considering our pace in the races, I’m very pleased with what we’ve achieved for the opening event, and now we move onto the next round excited for the challenge that brings.
“Considering I only had two weeks build-up for the first round and no prior testing, I’m confident that with two months now to prepare properly, I’ll come back much stronger for Phillip Island.
“A big thank you to Ashley Seward Motorsport, Autoglym, Win Network and i98FM, this is a fantastic opportunity and I’m loving being back racing.”
The second round of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia will be held at Phillip Island on May 12-14 as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries.