Oliphant turns fast lap into runners-up spot at Silverstone

Tom Oliphant, right, celebrates his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup GB podium at Silverstone.
Tom Oliphant, right, celebrates his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup GB podium at Silverstone.

Tom Oliphant enjoyed a weekend to remember in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Silverstone, converting a season’s-best qualifying performance into a maiden podium finish.

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 helping cement his fourth position in the championship standings with two races remaining.

The 26-year-old Leamington driver 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, Oliphant was left frustrated when a slow launch off the line dropped him to third heading through Copse.

The reigning Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion hit back almost immediately, though, with a fearless move around the outside through Brooklands regaining him second and he would go on to hold that position for the remainder of the race in front of a bumper trackside crowd and the live ITV4 cameras.

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 on the opening lap and maintained the position into an early safety car period.

While he was unable to keep tabs with the top three, another strong performance ensured he stayed in fourth until the finish before a time penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him to sixth in the final reckoning.

Despite losing those two places, Oliphant left Silverstone having increased his advantage over fifth place to ten points in the championship standings heading into the season finale at Brands Hatch GP next month.

“Overall, I’m really pleased with the weekend,” said Oliphant. “We’ve made a big step forward 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.”