American racer Ryan Tveter finished a solid 11th in a field of 33 Sunday in Round 5 of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup at the Nurburgring. It was a fine showing for the 18-year-old rookie from Oyster Bay, N.Y. and Zurich, Switzerland, especially considering that the doubleheader attracted many competitors from the series directly above it, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.
“If there hadn't been any Eurocup drivers in the race I could have been on the podium!” noted Tveter, who is competing in his first full season after two partial seasons in North America. “On the other hand, it was a really good experience to race alongside and battle with them.”
Driving the Fortec Competition No. 36 Tatuus, on Saturday Tveter qualified 15th for both of Sunday's races. He had advanced six positions to ninth place in the first race when he was involved in an accident around the mid-point while he was in the middle of a three-wide onslaught for the same piece of real estate going into Turn 1. His car, which advertises the Autobau Automotive Museum and Convention Center in Romanshorn, Switzerland, received damage to its front wing and he wasn't able to finish that race, but the Fortec crew had it back in excellent shape for the second race less than two hours later.
In addition to bettering his starting position by four spots in the 13-lap nightcap, Tveter's confidence was boosted when he got the opportunity to dice with three other up-and-coming drivers: Esteban Ocon, Oscar Tunjo and Jack Aitken. Ocon, a karting champion in France, and Tunjo, a Colombian who was the polesitter for the first race, are both on the Lotus F1 junior team. Aitken, of Great Britain, was in a sister car to Tveter's, as he's on the Fortec Motorsports NEC squad.
“We fought hard,” Tveter said. “It was exciting to be racing with the top Eurocup drivers. I was right up there with them, so it was really good. Fortec gave me a good car; I learned a lot, and finishing 11th in the second race was a big boost to my confidence. I also want to congratulate my teammate, Matt Parry, who won both races.
“I feel very confident going into the next event June 1-2 at Silverstone, because we tested there before and I know that track well,” Tveter added. “In most of my previous races I was seeing the track for the first time on the race weekend.”
"Ryan is competing against the best drivers in the world at this level, with only a small fraction of their experience,” noted Mick Kouros, senior race engineer, Fortec Motorsports. “He is a very fast learner and I'm extremely pleased with his progress in the short time we've worked together. P11 in Race 2 is a terrific finish, particularly because most of the top 10 are Eurocup drivers.
“Still, I'm less focused on Ryan's results at this point than I am with his continued progress building strong fundamentals, where he is doing an outstanding job,” added Kouros. “He did an excellent job qualifying and his pace was consistently fast in both races. That's what we want.
“It's all about learning and building experience. Even the contact during the battle in Race 1 that took Ryan out of contention was a good learning experience. He was defending a ninth-place position very well, having started 15th. Ryan had pace, fight and focus. He can be very satisfied with his performance as a rookie in his second NEC event. I'm happy."
For more information on Tveter, see RyanTveter.com and interact with him on Facebook at Facebook.com/RyanTveter and on Twitter at @RyanTveter.