De Silvestro is looking forward to flourishing in a new chance with Paretta
Finally, Simona De Silvestro is ready to resume her career in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
The 69-race series veteran noted that it’s been seven weeks since Paretta Autosport announced it would compete in three races this season, starting with the Sonsio Grand Prix of Road America presented by AMR on Sunday. She’s had to wait four races in the series, including the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit presented by Lear last weekend, where she sat in the Ed Carpenter Racing pit to see how the team she’s with work runs during a race weekend.
In a sense, this delay allowed De Silvestro to prepare his body for the physical challenges of driving a race car without power steering on a 14-lap, 4.048-mile permanent road course. But in another sense, she had to manage the mental aspect of this preparation.
« There was plenty of time to think about it, » she said. “Maybe thinking too much about it. »
But it’s real now. De Silvestro has been in the simulator this week and will travel to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Thursday. The first practice session of the weekend is Friday at 4:25 p.m. (ET).
Finally, it happened.
“I’m really happy to be in race week now, getting down to business and going,” she said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a while now, especially on the road course. So yeah, (I’m) pretty excited about it. »
De Silvestro is a household name for many NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans. She burst onto the scene in 2010 with HVM Racing, led four laps in her series debut and won Rookie of the Year for the Indianapolis 500 after finishing 14th. In the first race of her sophomore season, she finished fourth in St. Petersburg and was tied with Scott Dixon in the standings after two races.
People forget that when Tony Kanaan won the 500 in 2013, De Silvestro was his teammate at KV Racing Technology, and she finished just two spots behind him in the standings. She finished 14th in points, one place behind Sébastien Bourdais and one place ahead of Josef Newgarden. But that was effectively the end of his run on the show.
De Silvestro went driverless in 2014 and managed three starts with Andretti Autosport in 2015. Since then, she only has her last year’s effort in the 500s with Paretta Autosport on her CV.
Beth Paretta gave De Silvestro a way back into the show. They’ll race the No. 16 Paretta Autosport Chevy this weekend with support from Ed Carpenter’s team, then focus on competing in the Honda Indy 200 on July 3 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on August 7 in Nashville.
De Silvestro, 33, is grateful for the opportunity which can be difficult to obtain.
“At the end of the day, you have to have the right photo, you have to have people behind you who really want to support you,” she said.
De Silvestro will be one of two women among the 27 cars in the field on Sunday. The other is Tatiana Calderon, who is racing the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet in street and road races this season.
Since becoming a full-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, De Silvestro has driven race cars around the world and has been active since her last full season in that series. She’s raced in Australian Formula E and V8 Supercars and been a works Porsche GT driver, and she knows she’s got a tough challenge ahead of her this weekend. The last time she raced at Road America was in 2009, and that was in the Atlantics. She hasn’t been on a road course in this series since 2015 – and certainly not with an aero screen – and she knows the current field of drivers and teams is as deep and as competitive as what she has faced. the last time.
In addition, it will be a two-hour race. De Silvestro said his longest race since last year’s ‘500’ was a sports car race lasting 45 minutes. That’s why she trained specifically for the challenge ahead.
« You want to do the best job possible, » she said. “I think we also have to be realistic. We have not been tested (this year as a team). It’s the middle of the season, (and) all these guys and girls have already raced halfway through the season. We have to see where we stand.
“We just have to do our job properly and keep working to finish the race (of 55 laps). I think if we do everything right, the race could be good. »
She said she felt « like a little girl driving an Indy car. »
« I hope I haven’t forgotten how to drive, » she laughed. “So I think everything will be fine. »
The eighth of 17 races on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will air live at 12:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday on NBC and Peacock Premium. The INDYCAR radio network will begin its coverage at noon. Listen live on the INDYCAR mobile app, racecontrol.indycar.com and SiriusXM channel 160.