De Silvestro signs three-year Supercars deal
Simona de Silvestro will race full-time in the Supercars Championship for the next three seasons, the category has confirmed.
Supercars has announced the signing of De Silvestro alongside confirmation that the Supergirls wildcard will move to Nissan for this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Although it is expected that the 28-year-old Swiss will continue with Nissan in 2017, the Supercars statement does not confirm a team for her full-time contract.
As previously reported, Supercars had itself secured the sponsorship funding for De Silvestro, who will become the first full-time female driver in the category’s modern era.
Retail giant Harvey Norman, which already sponsored the Supergirls Bathurst entry, and the South Australian Government have provided the backing for the deal to take place.
“This is an exciting announcement for the sport and a major coup for Supercars,” said Supercars CEO James Warburton.
“We said we wanted to have a full-time female driver in our championship and in Simona we have secured a world class driver.
“Along with Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher she is one of only three female drivers to have stood on the podium in IndyCar and she will be a brilliant addition to Supercars.
“I want to thank Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page for their support of the Harvey Norman Supergirls and the South Australian Government for its support in making this happen.
“There will be great anticipation when Simona lines up on the grid at Clipsal 500 Adelaide next March.
“What is really exciting is that she has committed to three years which gives her a great opportunity to make her mark in the sport.”
De Silvestro says she’ll fully aware of the extent of the challenge that lies ahead.
“I had my first taste of driving these cars last year at the Bathurst 1000,” she said.
“It was such an incredible experience and I knew this could be a goal for the future
“That this goal became reality so quickly is fantastic and I have to thank James Warburton for believing in me and wanting me in Supercars.
“This is going to be my first full-time year with a closed top car and there a lot of new things for me to learn and adapt to.
“I am very respectful towards this new challenge but at the same time I am very excited about driving in such a competitive championship.
“I can’t wait to jump in the car to work towards getting the most out of these cars.
“I also have to thank Harvey Norman for their support as without them this incredible opportunity would not have been possible.
“To have the trust of somebody like Katie Page is giving me a lot of confidence and I look forward to my new adventure in Australia.”
Nissan Motorsport now faces the task of running six cars across four consecutive race meetings in late October and early November.
The Supergirls wildcard adds to its four main Supercars entries and the Nissan GT-R it will run in the Hampton Downs and Highlands Park Australian GT rounds.
“It’s really exciting to have a fifth Altima running at Bathurst this year,” said team co-owner and driver Todd Kelly.
“When we heard that the wildcard was available, we jumped at it.
“We know what it’s like to run the wildcard at Bathurst, and have done it well in the past, so we’re confident we can do a good job.”
VIDEO: Simona De Silvestro to joins Supercars full-time in 2017