Renault UK Clio Cup stalwart Paul Rivett will mark the start of the championship’s fourth generation era by launching a title bid as both a driver and team manager, having today confirmed his return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category with WDE Motorsport.
Finalising details of the agreement with the Ashford based squad over the weekend, 35-year-old Rivett will not only mount a challenge for an unprecedented fourth main season Renault UK Clio Cup crown as a competitor – he will also head-up WDE’s debut in the national-level series.
Realising a long-held ambition by becoming a team manager, the hugely successful Banstead racer is incredibly excited by the prospect of the added responsibility and is also aiming to drive WDE on to a rapid expansion in both the Dunlop-backed Renault UK Clio Cup and Michelin Clio Cup Race Series.
Set to collect his new fourth generation Clio Cup car tomorrow, Tuesday, 18th March, Rivett will then travel directly to Rockingham in Northamptonshire for the officially timed pre-season test and Media Day on Wednesday, 19th March.
“This is a very last minute deal but I’m absolutely delighted – it’s fantastic to confirm we’re going racing!”, said the elated multiple champion, “It’s a dream come true really, I’ve always wanted to be part of running a team and this is the best of both worlds for me. I’ll be picking the car up tomorrow and then heading straight up to Rockingham, I can’t wait to get out on track.
“The guys at WDE are obviously coming into Clios for the first time so the plan is to get established, then expand to four cars for the UK championship next year and to also run in the Clio Cup Race Series. It’s all very exciting because as well as returning as a driver, I’m committing myself to Clios for the long term in a team manager capacity as well.”
While Rivett’s championship campaigns have all been confirmed at the eleventh hour over the last few seasons, by getting hold of his new car in time for this week’s official test he has a greatly improved opportunity this time to prepare before the opening two rounds of the season at the end of the month.
“It’s all looking really good, I honestly thought I wouldn’t get to test the car until the two 40 minute sessions at Brands”, he added, “It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to understand the car at Rockingham, get a set-up on it and start building from there. There’s a lot of hard work to be done but being involved in the official test is very important.
“We’ll announce the sponsors soon, most will be returning from last year but we have some new partners as well. We hope to have another car out at some point too and the aim is, as always, to be the best we can – I want to win.”
Wayne Eason, WDE team principal, is thrilled to be making the step-up into the Renault UK Clio Cup having established his squad as one of the foremost championship-winning entrants in club-level Ford Fiesta racing. The team also has experience of working in the BTCC itself after assisting Shaun Hollamby’s AmD Tuning operation late last season.
“Paul is a legend, no two ways about it, he’s the most experienced driver in Clios and it’s fantastic to be working with him”, said Eason, “He’s a real worker, just like everyone at WDE, and I know he’ll put his heart and soul into doing the best he can for us, just as we will for him.
“He’s been doing some work with us over the winter and did mention doing something with his own team, so we said come and join us – it makes absolute sense. We’ve built the team up slowly, the right way, and now we’re ready for the step-up into Clios.”
Following the annual pre-season test and Media Day this Wednesday, 19th March, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire, the opening two rounds of the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup season will take place at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 29th/30th March. – www.renaultsport.co.uk