21-year old Finnish driver, Olli Parhankangas (or Olli Kangas for short), has become the first overseas competitor to enter the newly formed TCR UK Series, though only for the opening event.
In preparation for the upcoming Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC) – which begins in early May at Knutstorp, Sweden – Kangas will use the opening round at Silverstone in order to test LMS Racing’s Cupra TCR.
However, this isn’t the first time that he has driven at the Northampton-based track this season already. Earlier in March, Kangas competed alongside his compatriots Antti Buri and Kari-Pekka Laaksonen during the Silverstone 24 hour endurance race, so he’ll certainly not be lacking any circuit knowledge.
Last year, Kangas claimed a best race result of 7th place during his debut campaign in the STCC, which he achieved on two occasions (at his Finnish home venue Alastaro, and at Anderstorp in Sweden.)
During 2017, he competed for LMS Racing in a SEAT Leon TCR internationally too. At the 2017 ‘TCR Europe’ event held by Adria Raceway, Kangas finished 14th in race one and 15th in race two. While the results weren’t groundbreaking, it was at least a weekend that proved his ability to battle hard with drivers in the same machinery. Despite his minimal career experience, Kangas consistently fought with Russian drivers Lev Tolkachev and Denis Grigoriev.
When the announcement was made, Kangas stated that: “Our plan for Silverstone will be to test some things before my season starts in Sweden. My focus this year will be the STCC, so this will probably be my only race in the UK as we have a busy schedule ahead of us, including some VLN and endurance races as well, but I like driving at Silverstone. I was there a couple of weeks ago driving in the 24H race, so I am looking forward to competing in TCR UK”
On the presence of LMS Racing at Silverstone, TCR UK’s Championship Manager Jen Mouratsing added: “We’re really pleased that LMS Racing has entered the car for Silverstone and we’re looking forward to welcoming Olli and the team to TCR UK. This is a perfect example of how TCR works, where a team is able to compete in more than one series with the same car, and we’re confident that more overseas teams will sign up to do some of our events this year.”
After a year of learning his racecraft, Olli Parhankangas will be looking to push forward in 2018. With a point to prove, he’ll certainly be one to watch at Silverstone.