Former Formula E and IndyCar competitor Simona de Silvestro is making the move Down Under to compete in Virgin Australia Supercars next year.
Simona de Silvestro has had a long open wheel motorsports career. She has raced in the Indianapolis 500, competed in the first-ever Formula E championship, and served as a test driver for a Formula One team.
But now the 28-year-old Swiss driver is switching gears and countries. She’s headed to to tackle her next challenge, as it was announced Monday that de Silvestro will be racing V8 Supercars in 2017.
Virgin Australia Supercars CEO James Warburton said Monday that de Silvestro has signed a deal to compete in the championship for the next three years.
While she will not be the first woman to compete full-time in the series – Australia’s Leanne Tander precedes her – there is already palpable excitement about de Silvestro’s signing on social media.
De Silvestro is also very excited about her chances to compete in the V8 Supercars championship. Here’s what she said in her first official statement:
I had my first taste of driving these cars last year at the Bathurst 1000. 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.
De Silvestro will return to Mount Panorama to compete in the 2016 edition of the Bathurst 1000 Oct. 6-9, before lining up to start the 2017 V8 Supercars season in the Clipsal 500.
Her move Down Under is not surprising considering the current landscape in the open-wheel world. She recently lost her spot in the Formula E championship with MS Amlin Andretti to Antonio Felix da Costa. Meanwhile, opportunities for de Silvestro in IndyCar appear limited, as she’d likely have to bring some level of funding with her in order to secure any open race seat.
There will certainly be some adjustments coming from open wheel to closed-top racing for de Silvestro, but she comes with plenty of racing potential. You simply do not advance as far as she has on the motorsports ladder without success.
Now she’ll partner with another female driver, Renee Gracie, to run a Nissan Motorsports wildcard entry at Bathurst. What team she’ll be driving with for the 2017 V8 Supercars season has yet to be determined, but de Silvestro will be striving to make an impact as she enters a new league.
What do you think of the move to V8 Supercars for Simona de Silvestro? Will she find racing success in Australia? Tell us your thoughts below or send them to us on Twitter.