De Silvestro an ‘ultimate professional’
Saturday 30th September, 2023 - 1:00pm
Repco Bathurst 1000 wildcard Simona De Silvestro has shown she is an “ultimate professional,” according to Shell V-Power Racing Team Principal Ben Croke.
The Swiss driver makes her return to the Repco Supercars Championship next weekend in a third Ford Mustang out of Dick Johnson Racing, with rookie Kai Allen as co-driver.
De Silvestro has three full-time seasons of Supercars under her belt, all with Kelly Racing, and two prior wildcard starts at Mount Panorama.
However, she has not raced in the category since November 2019, after which she has served as a Porsche Formula E test/reserve driver alongside stints in ADAC GT Masters and back in IndyCar.
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“It went very well; Kai and Simona are on the were on the same page straight away,” Croke told Speedcafe of the test.
“Both did a very, very good job in the car considering the limited time that they had; really happy with how it’s come together for them.”
Allen did at least have a test day in the #98 Mustang earlier in the month, but De Silvestro is said to have come to grips with the task of a Gen3 Supercar, a new experience for the 35-year-old, “within the first few laps.”
“It was probably really good because she had no preconceived idea of what the car should feel like, because it’s been a bit of a break,” added Croke.
“But, straight away she was into it and did an amazing job. Ultimate professional.”
It is De Silvestro’s surname on the windscreen of Car #98, per her status as the official primary driver, although which roles she and Allen take during the Bathurst 1000 weekend is yet to be determined.
“Simona is listed as the primary driver, so Kai will do the additional driver sessions [Practice 2, Practice 5], but no, there’s no favourites and nothing has been worked out for qualifying or race start or anything like that as yet,” explained Croke.
“They need to get into the weekend and find their feet and go from there.”
DJR will field an unchanged driver line-up in its full-time entries, namely Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto in the #11 Mustang and Will Davison/Alex Davison in the #17 Mustang.
Allen is set to hit the Mount Panorama circuit on Thursday from 10:00 local time/AEDT for Dunlop Super2 Series practice, before action for the Championship field kicks off at 13:20 local time/AEDT.