De Silvestro confirms Supercars exit
By Tom Howard
Thursday 7th November, 2019 - 5:14pm
Simona De Silvestro will focus on racing overseas next season, confirming an end to her full-time stay in the Supercars Championship.
The Swiss driver joined the series in 2017 as part of a unique deal that saw Supercars itself help secure sponsorship to lure the former IndyCar driver to series.
De Silvestro’s future in the category has been up in the air for much of the season with the driver coming to the end of a three-year deal with Kelly Racing.
Kelly Racing’s decision to scale back its efforts and switch to Mustangs for Rick Kelly and Andre Heimgartner has left the European searching for a new seat.
De Silvestro was linked to a potential drive at Tickford but in recent months racing overseas has been the most likely option.
De Silvestro has now elaborated more on her 2020 plans during an interview on Fox Sports’ Supercars Trackside where she reveals that a 2020 enduro drive is still on her wish list.
“No, I won’t be (on the grid),” said De Silvestro.
“On one side, yes, it’s a bit unfortunate because I feel like we haven’t ticked all the boxes here in Australia, but having the opportunity with Porsche coming around like this is a really big deal for me.
“I feel like I’ve been close but never where I need to be and I think that with this opportunity with them, I think I can finally achieve what I’ve always dreamt of and fighting for a championship and winning races.
“Through Harvey Norman, through Katie Page, this opportunity (was) created that I came here to race for three years, and here I am signing with Porsche, so if she wouldn’t have been involved, or giving me this chance, maybe all of this wouldn’t have happened.
“So at the end of the day as well you need a team to feel the same, and giving you the chances that you need, and I feel like we haven’t got that right, really, in the three years that we were here.
“Really, it (the link to Tickford) came down to this: for me, I’m 31 now and I needed to see where I can really achieve those things where I want to achieve, and between racing here with Tickford and Porsche, it was a decision I had to take.
“I think for the long term for me, I think the decision I took is pretty good.”
This season, set to be her last in Supercars for the time being, has seen De Silvestro score a career high seventh place finish in Race 24 at Pukekohe. It was a third top 10 finish in the category to date.
De Silvestro’s Supercars future could have headed down a different route last year having been close to securing a deal with Triple Eight for 2019.
The arrangement would have seen the her replace Craig Lowndes in the third entry.
“We got pretty close with Triple Eight and at the time I really thought that was going to be my shot, and I was pretty excited about it, but then there’s a lot of things that have to come into place sometimes and maybe everything happens for a reason,” De Silvestro added.
“If that would have happened, maybe the Porsche opportunity wouldn’t have come, so it is what it is, but I think at the moment I’m pretty happy.”
While admitting she will miss the racing, De Silvestro is keen to return to Australia for the Pirtek Enduro Cup next year.
“The racing here is so good and I think you can’t compare it to anything else, and to be honest, I’m really going to miss it, because I really enjoy the cars, they’re really fun to drive, the competition is so fierce out there so it’s really cool,” said De Silvestro.
“If I really get something together to come as an enduros (co-driver), it’d be awesome.”
De Silvestro will be joined by Alex Rullo for this weekend’s Penrite Oil Sandown 500 which begins on Friday.