Oliphant: World Tour will be a ‘shock to the system’
British driver, Tom Oliphant believes the inclusion of Kumho TCR World Tour at the upcoming Race Sydney and Supercheap Auto Bathurst International events will be a ‘shock to the system’ to fellow Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series competitors.
The international category is set to line up alongside TCR Australia for both race meetings in November, with more than 10 of the series’ best drivers confirmed to make the trip down under.
Both rounds are crucial for both World Tour and Australian competitions, serving as the second-to-last and last rounds respectively, which will undoubtedly intensify the title battles and provide some thrilling conclusions.
As the only regular international driver on the Australian grid, Oliphant will have a unique advantage come November, having previously competed against some of the world tour competitors back home.
During his experiences, Oliphant identified some major differences in racing styles between the European and Australian series’, some he believed would play a major factor in the outcome of both rounds.
“The world tour guys are the best front wheel drive touring car drivers in the world, they are the ones that are developing the cars and making them better than everything else, so it is a great opportunity to go up against them,” Oliphant said
“Having raced in Europe before, I have seen these guys around, I have raced against Rob Huff multiple times and spoken to them and hung out with them, so I think I have that advantage as I know how they act, and how they race.
“It’s going to be a bit of a shock to the system for some of the Aussies who haven’t ventured outside of Australia, because Europeans race a little bit different.
“These guys have raced all around the world and against a lot of different people, so they have the experience, and they race very hard.
“I haven’t really spoken to many of the other competitors about it, a big advantage the Australian’s have is that they know the tracks better, so that will come into play.
“They should be quick, but it’s one thing being quick and it’s another thing racing. Having previously raced at Le Mans in the Porsche Supercup, British Racing Cars, it’s very hard fought, you don’t get more than an inch.
“These guys will be coming over here and it will be their penultimate round at Bathurst, so there will be a lot on the line for them, they will not be hanging around.”
While it will prove a great challenge, Oliphant believed he and the rest of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series field are more than capable of stepping up to the challenge.
“Australia will show its class and give it a really good go, we will mix in well as we have some really great drivers in our series, I think we will be able to showcase our talent,” Oliphant added.
“With the standard of the guys coming over, it’s going to be a great opportunity to see world class drivers come up against them, I think that will be a bit of a baptism of fire that everybody will be able to rise to.
“It’s going to be good fun, I welcome the challenge and it’s a big reason as to why I entered TCR this year.
“The fact that the world tour is here means that TCR will be a growing series and it will really allow all the drivers here to put themselves on the map. If you do well, there could be more opportunities around the world.”
Kumho TCR World Tour will feature alongside Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series at Race Sydney on 3-4 November, before returning the following week for Supercheap Auto Bathurst International on 10-12 November.