Tom Oliphant got his 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season underway today at Snetterton as he had his first run of the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
The 27-year-old is making the switch to touring cars this year after competing in Porsche’s since 2015, the switch means that it is the first time Oliphant has experienced front wheel drive machinery on track.
“Testing went very well, the car was solid right from the get go, the team did a fantastic job building a brand new shell up so that we had no issues,” Oliphant told The Checkered Flag.
“Our aim was to get as many laps in as possible and once the track dried up we managed a really good programme. By the end of the day I felt very comfortable in the car and was pushing on hard for better lap times.”
Talking of the first experience in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Oliphant made comparisons to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that he has been used to.
“Having never driven a FWD car before on the track, it took a bit of getting used too. The power understeer and the rear moving into the corners were the biggest differences, however it quickly became natural and I really enjoyed it.
“The car is a lot slower compared with the Porsche, however you can really attack the corners and overall it’s a more fun car to drive. I can’t wait to get back on track next week for a test with the whole team.”
💯😃 Today @Tom_Oliphant has been out in his Mercedes-Benz Touring Car for the very first time… & he loves it! 👏🏽🇬🇧 #CiceleyMotorsport @DunlopBTCC #BTCC #TestDay #Snetterton #TomOliphant #FirstDrive pic.twitter.com/OjxV7HO8sj
— Ciceley Motorsport (@CiceleyMsport) February 22, 2018
Oliphant is currently leading the championship in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East by 19 points with four races of the season left. The next round is on the weekend of 16/17 March with the final races taking place on 7/8 April.