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BTCC race winner eyeing Supercars shot

ACCOMPLISHED British racer Tom Oliphant is investigating a move into the Supercars arena as soon as next year.

The 32-year-old moved to Australia in January, ending a run of four successive full-time British Touring Car Championship seasons during which time he collected two race wins and a further eight podiums.

Oliphant had previously been a frontrunner in Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain and the Porsche GT3 Middle East Championship, as well as making cameo appearances in Porsche Supercup and winning the 2015 Ginetta GT4 Supercup title.

“My fiancée is Australian and it was always on the cards at some point that we wanted to move to Australia,” he told V8 Sleuth.

“We have quite a lot of friends over here, we’ve made friends over the last 13 years we have been together so it was kind of always an obvious choice and this is where ultimately we want to raise our family.

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“It was probably the first adult decision I have made. I always say I’m a big kid racing cars and going wherever I fancy applying my trade for the next year.

“This was more a serious decision and as such I haven’t raced this year because it’s incredibly difficult picking all of your life and all of your racing up at once and moving it completely across the other side of the world.”

Now based in Wollongong, New South Wales, Oliphant is exploring a move into the 2023 Super2 Series with a view to one day racing in the Repco Bathurst 1000.

“I have always had certain goals in my racing career really. I have achieved a lot of them, British Touring Cars was a big highlight, racing for BMW was a massive privilege,” he said.

Pic: Tom Oliphant Racing

“But the final one I really want to tick off is to race Bathurst in a V8.

“I watched the race this year and it was phenomenal to watch and it’s definitely something that I want to be able to do.”

Oliphant set the wheels in motion long ago for a future move when he attended the 2020 Adelaide 500.

“I had a chat to a fair few teams… I met with Roland Dane and had a long chat with him,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky enough that I have raced for some really good teams in the UK, so Dick Bennetts introduced me to a couple of teams obviously being a Kiwi and being a pivotal part of when Roland Dane started Triple Eight in England, that was the same era that West Surrey Racing got started, who I raced for.

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“I had a good chat to a couple of teams and they all sort of told me the same sort of thing, so I just went away and kept that in mind.

“I have just been trying to find sponsorship to get me onto the grid next year, which obviously in the current climate is quite difficult.”

Oliphant is yet to steer a Supercar but believes their characteristics will play into his hands, and has support from three-time World Touring Car champion and former Triple Eight wildcard driver Andy Priaulx.

“Andy Priaulx managed me for six years, coming up through my championship-winning season in Ginetta Supercup and then through Porsche and GTs and then obviously into BTCC with Mercedes and BMW,” he said.

“He put me in contact with a couple of guys and obviously explained the differences between the cars that I have driven and these ones over here.

“He told me, ‘definitely don’t take it lightly, these cars are some of the most difficult he’s ever driven and the guys over here are performing at a world-class level’.”

Away from his own racing endeavours, Oliphant runs two UK-based businesses: PR/sponsorship company Next Level Motorsport (of which his clientele includes rising Australian open-wheel talent Christian Mansell); and a golf biomechanics centre of excellence called Fade Golf.

The Super2 field next year will comprise of Ford Mustangs and Holden ZB Commodores currently competing in the Repco Supercars Championship.

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