Tom Oliphant enjoyed a weekend to remember in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Silverstone this past weekend (17/18 September) as he converted a season’s best qualifying performance into a maiden podium finish at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’.
Oliphant’s third race meeting of the season at Silverstone would prove to be his most successful since making the transition into Porsche competition, with a hard-earned second place finish helping cement his fourth position in the championship standings with two races remaining.
The 26 year old has previously raced at the circuit this season in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship and Formula One British Grand Prix, though the penultimate meeting of the Carrera Cup GB campaign marked his first outing of the year on the short, fast National layout.
While mixed weather conditions reduced the effectiveness of Friday’s official practice sessions, a successful day of dry testing on Wednesday in his Redline Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car put Oliphant in buoyant mood heading into qualifying.
That confidence would show as Oliphant stormed towards the top of the timesheets, with a blistering pace producing a best lap of 56.131 seconds to put him second on the grid for the opening race, while his second best lap time secured him fifth for race two.
Lining up on the front row of the grid for the first time in his Philips Automotive and Mulgari-backed Porsche, Oliphant was left frustrated when a slow launch off the line dropped him down to third position heading through Copse corner at the start of the opener.
The reigning Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion hit back almost immediately though, adding to his portfolio of sensational overtaking manoeuvres this season with a fearless move around the outside through Brooklands earning him second position.
The Leamington Spa racer would go on to hold the position for the remainder of the race in front of a bumper trackside crowd, though it was far from easy as he had to soak up some pressure over the opening portion of the race.
As the race progressed though he showcased his impressive pace to edge clear of his pursuers and confirm his breakthrough podium finish.
Oliphant headed into the second live televised race of the day hoping to challenge for another top three result, and his chances were aided as he climbed into fourth position on the opening lap and held the position into an early safety car period.
While he was unable to keep tabs with the top three as the race developed, another strong performance ensured he maintained fourth position on the road until the finish – however an unfortunate time penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him to sixth in the final results.
Despite losing those two positions, the Bandera, Clearview Coaching and Horizon-supported driver still leaves Silverstone with an increased ten point advantage in the battle over fourth in the championship standings heading into the season finale at Brands Hatch GP next month (1/2 October).
Tom Oliphant: “Overall, I’m really pleased with this weekend, we’ve made a big step forwards once again and there’s a lot of positives to take away into Brands Hatch. We finally managed to hook it up in qualifying and then convert into a podium in race one and get that monkey off my back.
“I felt like I drove another good race in the second one and I’m not sure why I got the penalty, but that happens in racing and I’m glad we could still pick up sixth. We’ve built a lead in the battle for fourth in the championship and we go to Brands Hatch now in the hunt for some more trophies.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. James Lipman/Porsche