De Silvestro replaces Wood at Nissan Motorsport
Nissan Motorsport has confirmed that Simona de Silvestro will replace Dale Wood in its four-car outfit next season.
De Silvestro’s deal follows a landmark three-year agreement between the Swiss driver and Supercars which was announced in September.
Amid strong interest from several teams, De Silvestro had been thought destined to land at Nissan following the Supergirls Bathurst wildcard’s late shift from Prodrive to the Kelly family owned outfit.
Wood, who joined Nissan at the start of 2016 with backing from GB Galvanizing and Advam, is known to have been exploring other options for some time.
With Michael Caruso already re-signed and both Kelly brothers expected to continue driving next year, the De Silvestro deal completes Nissan’s quartet for next season.
De Silvestro says that the opportunity to join a factory team makes Nissan a good home for what promises to be a challenging Supercars sojourn.
“In joining Nissan Motorsport, I think the biggest thing is being a factory driver,” she said.
“It’s great to have the trust from Nissan Motorsport to give me the chance to drive for them.
“I really enjoyed driving for them at Bathurst, I really enjoyed the car, so there were a lot of things I really liked.
“And the team as well, it’s a great team, you see there’s a lot of potential in the team.
“So working with them hopefully will bring a lot of success.”
After just two previous Supercars starts, both as Bathurst wildcards, De Silvestro admits she has a lot of work ahead in order to be competitive.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty big challenge for me,” she said.
“Like I’ve said before, most of my career has been in open wheel.
“The Nissan Altima was feeling pretty great at Bathurst, so I’m sure at other tracks I’m going to be able to adapt a lot quicker.
“Learning the tracks and working with the team will be a big challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”
Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery says that he hopes De Silvestro’s presence in the category can help foster greater interest in motorsport among females.
“Nissan has a long history in motorsport, one of the few competitive sports where men and women compete head-to-head on equal terms,” he said.
“It’s important that Nissan and the wider automotive sector promote our industry and our vehicles as well as motorsport beyond traditional male audiences.
“We want to encourage more women to chose our industry as a career and sporting pathway.
“And by having Simona on our team we hope to achieve greater speed and results on the track.”
VIDEO: Simona de Silvestro confirmed with Nissan Motorsport