Four-time Renault Clio Cup champion Paul Rivett turned heads with an impressive rookie debut in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
The Epson driver has long dreamed of graduating to the UK’s premier series with his dream realised at Snetterton last weekend, after securing a deal to contest the final two rounds of the BTCC season with Trade Price Cars Racing.
Despite limited experience in BTCC machinery, Rivett quickly adjusted to the Tachosys/WDE Recruitment/JSUPPLIED 3D with Craftbot backed Audi S3 at the Norfolk circuit.
Adding to the challenge of competing in the rough and tumble world of BTCC, Rivett started the weekend with 45kg of ballast added to the car as per championship regulations for new drivers.
However, Rivett starred in qualifying ending up top rookie in 20th spot finishing ahead of several more seasoned campaigners.
He converted that grid berth to a strong 19th finish in Race 1, again, best of the newcomers. Race 2 proved a tough battle as contact at the start hampered progress.
Undeterred, a fighting drive in Race 3 saw Rivett come home in 21st position, a result that has left him feeling he belongs in the BTCC paddock.
“It’s been fantastic, it’s just been great to be here and I’ve loved every single moment of it, both the highs and the lows,” said Rivett.
“It has just felt so right to be here from the start of the weekend and I’ve relished every moment of it.
“This is something I didn’t know I would ever get a chance to do in life and here I am, I’m a British Touring Car driver.
“It’s been tough. I would have liked to have been higher up the order but so would every racing driver that’s not winning basically.
“Qualifying was pretty good actually with the weight in the car we had, and the way we qualified in front of all the other newcomers was really good.
“We were alright in practice and got better in qualifying and Race 1 was strong as we were 19th and first of the newcomers.
“I fluffed the start in Race 2 which cost me quite dearly and I was then hit by another car before I had even got across the start/finish line and I had a bit of left hand down from there.
“I got hit by somebody else and somebody else which straightened up the car and that was my welcome to touring cars,” he joked.
“Race 3 was probably the most fun part of the weekend for me. I really got stuck in. I had a really good race from there and some good racing with Jack Goff.
“It reminded me of my old Clio Cup days when we raced for the championship back in 2012. I had a good race with Jessica (Hawkins) as well. I throughly enjoyed it all. It has been a fantastic weekend all round.
“We can be more competitive with the car and I can be more competitive as a driver. I feel I got my head round driving a BTCC car quite quickly, but I’m far from knowing it all, I was learning, learning all weekend.”
Rivett was overwhelmed by the support from family, friends, loyal sponsors Tachosys/WDE Recruitment/JSUPPLIED 3D with Craftbot and Trade Price Cars Racing for making his dream happen.
“I’ve got to say thank you to Tachosys/WDE Recruitment/JSUPPLIED 3D with Craftbot for their support,” he added.
“I’ve had great support from everyone, from family, from my wife Juliette, my dad, friends and social media.
“The whole social media side of it has been more than I have been used to. I may not have time during the day but I sit down and like everyone’s comments in the evening and read everything.
“The Trade Price Cars Racing team are a really nice friendly bunch of guys and it’s a pleasure to be racing with them. I have to say a big thank you to them for all their hard work and for making me feel so welcome.”
Focus is now on the final round of the BTCC season at Kent’s Brands Hatch Indy circuit from November 14-15.
“I now know what to expect at Brands Hatch and I will be doing a few more practice starts before we get there too. I can’t wait for Brands Hatch now,” he concluded.