De Silvestro ready for stronger Bathurst attack
Simona de Silvestro is ready to launch a much more focussed attack on this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 having experienced The Great Race and Supercars machinery.
The Swiss single-seater ace faced arguably the biggest challenge of her career last year by swapping Formula cars for a low downforce, rear-wheel-drive Supercars in Australia’s toughest race.
De Silvestro partnered Dunlop Series driver Renee Gracie in a wildcard entry at Mount Panorama which ultimately ended with a 21st place finish.
Confirmed today to spearhead the Harvey Norman Supergirls entry alongside Gracie for a second assault, the 27-year-old has a greater understanding of how a Supercar works.
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Consequently de Silvestro is looking to extract more pace from the Falcon FG X.
De Silvestro and Gracie will undertake two test days at Winton prior to The Great Race (October 6-9), where fine tuning set-up is at the top of the agenda.
She also admits one of her goals, alongside a race finish, is to produce consistent lap times much closer to the field to further validate her skills.
The former IndyCar driver clocked a 2:08.9s personal best in practice in the lead up to the 161 lap epic.
“Coming back this year I feel more relaxed and hopefully we will have a really good race,” de Silvestro told Speedcafe.com.
“The first year everything is new and you have to try and take it all in. I had never driven a Supercar before and to do it at Bathurst was quite challenging.
“I can now focus on the driving part instead of learning all of my surroundings and people.
“The biggest thing is when you don’t know the car, you don’t make too many changes because you are just trying to adapt to it.
“I know how the car works but understanding the car in more detail is what makes the difference in speed.
“Hopefully we should be able to do that in those test days. It usually takes a couple of years or a whole season for most of the guys to get there.
“I want to be really close to the other guys who are running the whole season.
“A lot of people said to me my pace was quite okay for a first time but you want to be closer and fighting with some of the guys and that is the first goal.”
Announced as a two-year project last year, her appearance at this year’s race was placed in doubt due to potential Formula E commitments.
However, a full-time drive in the all-electric category is yet to materialise leaving her to consider options for next year.
A wide range of categories are being explored with a move to Supercars full-time not being ruled out.
“I really enjoy the racing here as the competition is so good,” she added.
“I think for me, it would be important for me to be in a competitive car and that is what I look for in whatever series I race.
“At the moment everything is an option. Formula E is kind of on the radar but it is going to be difficult with how the races are placed on the calendar.
“Right now I am focussing on Bathurst and then we will look at my future afterwards.”