eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month: February 2023 – Ernesto Rivera
Four wins over two weekends continues momentum for RPG driver from Mexico
Ernesto Rivera won twice at the SKUSA Winter Series and ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour (Photo: EKN - Nate Dean)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
It has been a trend-setting few months for Mexican driver Ernesto Rivera. A breakthrough victory at the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 25 put the Rolison Performance Group driver into the record books, along with earning him the EKN Driver of the Month honor for November 2022. Rivera has now gone on a stretch of 10 victories at six events that included the SKUSA Winter Series, ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour and SKUSA Mexico. What stood out were the two double win weekends in February at the SKUSA Winter Series finale and the second stop of the FWT program – helping him earn EKN Driver of the Month.
Rivera won one X30 Junior main event at the SKUSA Winter Series opening weekend at the AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex in January while also winning Junior ROK feature in St. Pete to begin the 2023 Florida Winter Tour program. When it came to the final weekend in Homestead, Rivera nearly swept the entire weekend. The only session he did not finish in P1 was qualifying on Saturday, with RPG teammate Diego Ardiles edging him out by 48 thousandths. Rivera was credited with the win in the Prefinal after provisional winner Ardiles was penalized for contact. In the Final, Rivera led a majority of the 22 laps, with a final surge at the end giving him enough of a cushion to earn his second victory of the series.
The following day was all Rivera. He cleared the 24-driver field in qualifying by nearly two tenths before leading every lap of the Prefinal and Final for a perfect end to the SKUSA Winter Series. His third victory helped clinch the series championship, while also finishing fourth in the final standings for KA100 Junior with a third-place podium finish on Sunday.
The following weekend, Rivera and his RPG team headed up just north to the new Piquet Race Park in Loxahatchee, Florida for the second stop on the 2023 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour. Rivera was running double duty, competing in both VLR Junior and Junior ROK. It was a near-perfect performance in VLR with Rivera earning the quick time in qualifying and leading all 10 laps in each of the three heat races before showing the way for all 13 laps in the Prefinal. Rivera slipped back to third at the start of the 16-lap Final, however, reclaimed the top spot by lap three. From there, Ernesto drove to a six-second advantage for his first win on the season in the class.
It was a similar feat in the Junior ROK division at Piquet Race Park for Rivera, this time completing the perfect score. He cleared the 26-driver field by over two tenths in qualifying, and a total of 30 laps in the three heat races. Ernesto went unchallenged in the 13-lap Prefinal, and uncontested in the 16-lap Final to a 2.5-second victory. The perfect performance was his second victory of the series in Junior ROK.
The momentum continued over into the month of March as well. Rivera doubled up at the United States Pro Kart Series Southern Grand Prix at the Orlando Kart Center in Florida during the first weekend. The second weekend of March, Rivera clinched the FWT Junior ROK championship with a third straight victory.
February 2023 EKN Driver of the Month – Ernesto Rivera
Born: December 1, 2008
Hometown: Mexico City
Parents: Ernesto Rivera and Vera Pavlovich
Siblings: Sofia Rivera and Lucas Rivera
Height/Weight: 5.5’ / 119lbs.
Education: 8th grade – IRISH Institute
Engine/Engine Builder: IAME X30 / AVP – Alex Vincent
Series You Compete In: USPKS, SKUSA, SKUSA Mexico and Formula Karts Mexico in X30 Junior and KA100 Junior
Years Karting: 2
How did you get started in karting? A friend invited me to the track and I saw the teams.
What has been the high point in your racing career? Winning in Las Vegas at the SKUSA SuperNationals
What are your goals in racing? Make it to F1 and being a World Champion
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Aggressive, overdrive a lot and a little leaning
Funniest moment at the race track? Making jokes with Jone and Alex
Favorite Track: NOLA Motorsports Park
Favorite form of professional motorsports: F1
Favorite karting driver: Ryan Norberg
Favorite professional driver: Max Verstappen
Favorite website: Lamborghini designer
Favorite movie: Top Gun
Favorite actor/actress: Tom Cruise
Favorite music/group: Ozuna/ Del Mar
Favorite vacation/activity spot: Vail, Colorado / Skiing
Favorite food: Steak
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? Study, Workout and hang out with my friends
What are your goals outside of karting? Go to college and do a master’s degree at Harvard or MIT
What app or game do you play right now? F1 22
What type of street car would you like to drive? Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Texting during a meal and interrupting during a conversation.
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? That this sport becomes massive and that more people see it so that there are more sponsors.
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? The racing is very close and aggressive.
February 2023 Driver of the Month – Honorable Mention:
– Ian Koentges: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (Masters 100cc)
– Matheus Morgatto: Florida Winter Tour – 1 Win (Senior ROK)
– AJ Myers: SKUSA Winter Series – 2 Wins (Pro Shifter)
– Julian Rivera: Florida Winter Tour – 1 Win (Mini ROK)
– Jonathan Vitolo: Challenge of the Americas – 2 Wins (ROK Shifter Masters)
– Macy Williams: Challenge of the Americas – 1 Win (ROK Shifter)