De Silvestro – Swiss woman has historic Indy500 chance to win

Swiss woman has historic Indy500 victory chance

Simona de Silvestro competes in the Indy 500 for a women’s team and could make history. Penske supports the project.

D.he women’s issue is now becoming a top priority. After US racing legend Roger Penske bought the IndyCar series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 83-year-old campaigned for equality and equality in the IndyCar series. As a first step, he supported the establishment of the Force Indy racing team in the USF2000 junior series. A good Afro-American IndyCar driver should emerge from the project.
As a second step, he is now promoting women. Strictly speaking, a driver from Switzerland. Simona de Silvestro will contest the Indy 500 in 2021 – with the support of the top Penske team. The project runs under the Paretta Autosport banner, but Penske provides technical support. The almost 700 hp Dallara-Chevrolet has also been built in the Penske factory in the past few days.
Roger Penske is the most successful team owner in the legendary IndyCar race with 18 Indy 500 wins. For this reason alone, De Silvestro has the best cards. “This will be my best chance,” the 32-year-old knows. “The IndyCar and the Indy 500 got my career going. That I can now come back with Beth Paretta and Penske is an important and rare opportunity for me. “

Victorious team owner banished to the stands

De Silvestro has competed in the Indy 500 five times. In 2010 she finished the race for HVM in 14th place – making her the best newcomer. She finished on the podium once in 69 IndyCar races and came second in Houston in 2013. Her appearance in 2011 was remarkable: in a serious training accident, she rolled over. The car caught fire on the roof. Despite suffering second degree burns on her hands, she started the race.

Simona de Silvestro competes in the Indy 500 for a women’s team

© Indycar

In 2015 Simona de Silvestro competed for the Andretti team for the last time in the Indy 500, since then she has been a test driver for Sauber in Formula 1, for Andretti in Formula E, and most recently with Porsche in the ADAC GT Masters. De Silvestro is also a Porsche works driver.

Team owner Beth Paretta is also not a blank slate in motorsport. She was already responsible for various projects within the Fiat Chrysler group, including in 2012 for winning the NASCAR title for Brad Keselowski in a Dodge used by Penske. In 2016 she tried to start the Indy 500 with a women’s team and Katherine Legge at the wheel, but failed because of the funding. Thanks to Penske support, this is no longer a problem.

So far, nine out of 782 Indy 500 drivers have been women. Janet Guthrie was able to qualify for the Indy 500 for the first time in 1977 with a Lightning Offenhauser – six years after women were even allowed in the paddock. When Ray Keech won the Indy 500 in a Miller Simplex in 1929, team owner Maude Yagle was not allowed to sit against the pit wall, but had to watch in the stands.

Montoya at the Indy 500, second wife coming?

The most successful woman to date in the IndyCar and the Indy 500 was Danica Patrick: In 2008 she won the Motegi race, at the Indy 500 she led the field for 29 laps in all of her starts, and in 2009 she was third for the Andretti team.

These are all records that Simona de Silvestro could beat with Paretta / Penske. “Today is a commitment to gender equality in sport. It’s meant to encourage women to work hard so they can earn their place in management or on the starting grid, “says Paretta.

But the competition is great. As every year, 33 pilots will take part in the Indy 500, and possibly even more will contest the qualification. Another prominent guest starter is Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the Indy 500 in 2000 and 2015 and is returning to Indianapolis with McLaren SP.

Penske and Porsche – can there be more?

And: A second woman may come to Indy. Jackie Heinricher, team owner in the US sports car championship, is considering an Indy 500 start in collaboration with Meyer Shank Racing. A possible driver would then be Katherine Legge.

Incidentally, the fact that Paretta and Penske have signed De Silvestro, a Porsche works driver for the Indy 500, could not be a coincidence: According to rumors, Penske could supervise Porsche’s LMDh project for the 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans from 2023 or at least help a Porsche customer car at the start of both long-distance classics. Penske makes no secret of the fact that he absolutely wants to win the Le Mans race.

Previously confirmed drivers for the Indy 500

Scott Dixon (40 / Ganassi-Honda)
Marcus Ericsson (30 / Ganassi-Honda)
Alex Palou (24 / Ganassi-Honda)
Tony Kanaan (46 / Ganassi-Honda)
Josef Newgarden (30 / Penske-Chevrolet)
Will Power (40 / Penske-Chevrolet)
Simon Pagenaud (37 / Penske-Chevrolet)
Scott McLaughlin (27 / Penske-Chevrolet)
Simona de Silvestro (32 / Paretta / Penske-Chevrolet)
Colton Herta (21 / Andretti-Honda)
Alexander Rossi (29 / Andretti-Honda)
Ryan Hunter-Reay (40 / Andretti-Honda)
Marco Andretti (34 / Andretti / Herta-Honda)
Patricio O’Ward (22 / McLaren SP-Chevrolet)
Felix Rosenqvist (29 / McLaren SP-Chevrolet)
Juan-Pablo Montoya (45 / McLaren SP-Chevrolet)
Graham Rahal (32 / Rahal / Letterman / Lanigan-Honda
Takuma Sato (44 / Rahal / Letterman / Lanigan-Honda)
Rinus VeeKay (20 / Carpenter-Chevrolet)
Ed Carpenter (40 / Carpenter-Chevrolet)
Conor Daly (29 / Carpenter-Chevrolet)
Jack Harvey (28 / Michael / Shank-Honda)
Hélio Castroneves (46 / Michael / Shank-Honda)
Sébastien Bourdais (42 / Foyt-Chevrolet)
Dalton Kellett (27 / Foyt-Chevrolet)


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