07/09/2017

Rivett races into Renault Sport record books

Silverstone this coming weekend (16-17 Sept) is where Paul Rivett can truly lay claim to the moniker ‘Mr Clio Cup’ when he takes to the grid for his 200th race in the category.
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It’s been a remarkable career – one which started with victory in his very first Clio Cup race, back in 2001 around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

 

Three titles, 111 podium results, 33 fastest laps and 35 pole positions later, we caught up with Rivett ahead of his landmark ‘double centenary’ event. Bear in mind those 111 podiums include 46 victories – a remarkable hit rate of almost 25 per cent.

“I would say that 99.9% of the time, when I’ve got to the end of the day whether it’s been testing, qualifying or racing I’ve always had a huge smile on my face – every time I’ve gone out on track in one of these cars it’s given me nothing but huge enjoyment,” says Rivett.

 

Down the years Rivett has beaten off a long stream of drivers to have gone on to race wins and even title success in the British Touring Car Championship as well as, in 2002, Robert Huff (World Touring Car champ in 2012) and, in 2004, Jonathan Adam (double British GT champ and, this year, a winner in the Le Mans 24 Hours).

“Looking back I have to say that winning it for the first time in 2002 remains perhaps the biggest highlight of all.

“I’d won at the lower levels of motor sport but suddenly I’d got a title at a much higher level of the sport. It’s your first big one and it’s a feeling you can’t ever experience again. That one really stands out.”

Rivett has raced every configuration of Clio Cup car since 2001 and points to the ‘second generation’ model he drove that first year as his favourite so far.

 

“The latest ‘Gen 4’ is a fantastic car – so well engineered, really stable and very driver friendly. But I really loved the 2001 cars – probably because they were always on a knife edge even with the rear tyres heated up.”

Just turned 39, Rivett currently races for the WDE Motorsport squad where his role extends to that of team manager. Heading to Silverstone this weekend there is – even if remote – still a chance of title number four. Looking back, he concludes: “I could have had five or six titles to my name already but it doesn’t matter how good you are – at any level of motor sport you still need that bit of luck which sometimes hasn’t gone my way.

“I just want to thank everyone who’s enabled me to race in the UK Clio Cup – family, friends, sponsors and teams. They all know who they are.

“For me there is nothing else even remotely on this level in UK motorsport. The whole package – the teams, the competition, fantastic build of the cars, being on the BTCC bill and live on ITV4, the people involved, the environment it gives sponsors... Nothing else compares until you start going maybe into the BTCC.”

He adds: “I might be a bit older and my reactions probably aren’t quite what they were when I was younger but I feel my experience outweighs that. I feel like I’m driving as well as ever and don’t have any plans at all to stop. Here’s to the next 200 races and hopefully a few more titles!”