IndyCar: Simona de Silvestro to return to Indy 500 in 2021

Simona de Silvestro, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Simona de Silvestro, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

She hasn’t competed in IndyCar since 2015, but Simona de Silvestro is set to return to the Indy 500 in 2021 with Paretta Autosport.

Paretta Autosport, a new team spearheaded by female automotive and motorsport executive Beth Paretta, have announced their plans to make their IndyCar debut in the 105th running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May.

They are set to enter this 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval in Speedway, Indiana with Simona de Silvestro as their driver.

De Silvestro, who has not competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” since 2015, has competed in the race on five occasions.

The 32-year-old Swiss driver is set to drive the #16 Chevrolet in it this year.

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The new team will receive technical support from Team Penske, which have won the race an all-time record 18 times and two times in the last three years.

De Silvestro was the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 2010 when she finished in 14th place driving for HVM Racing, her best result in her five attempts in the race to date. In 68 career IndyCar starts, her career-best finish is her second place finish on the streets of Houston, Texas in 2013. She also finished fourth on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida in 2011, fifth on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland in 2013 and fourth at NOLA Motorsports Park in 2015.

She finished in a career-high 13th place in the championship standings in 2013, which was her fourth and most recent full season in the sport.

Here is what de Silvestro had to say about this opportunity to compete in this year’s Indy 500 with Paretta Autosport in a press release.

"“I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity to return to Indianapolis and the Indy 500 with Paretta Autosport this year. My career really took off through my time competing in INDYCAR and the Indy 500, so returning to compete with Beth and her new team in alliance with Team Penske is a special and rare chance in my career. Being part of the goal of diversity and inclusion for everyone, and especially women in INDYCAR, and in motorsports in general, is very important to me and how I would like to see the future of racing. I want to thank the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for taking such an important leadership role in providing gender and overall diversity inclusion in motorsports.”"

Here is what Paretta Autosport Team Principal Beth Paretta had to say.

"“Today is the beginning of a commitment to gender equity in sport, to encourage women to work hard so they can earn their seat at the table or spot on the grid. INDYCAR has been a leader and a welcoming place for women for many years because of the hard work of many women and men before us, but now we have a stronger commitment with INDYCAR’s ‘Race for Equality & Change’ to make sure opportunities continue in the future.“Our team, along with our technical alliance with Team Penske, will work hard to give Simona the best car we can provide so she can achieve her best results. Competition drives us. The Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world, and one day soon we hope to have a woman’s face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.”"

Here is what Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles had to add.

"“We are pleased to welcome Beth and her Paretta Autosport team to INDYCAR this year. Her team’s addition to the INDYCAR ‘Race for Equality & Change’ program this year will ensure that INDYCAR and the Indianapolis 500 continues the legacy of having a female driver qualify for the 2021 Indy 500. Of course, it will be up to Simona and the team to qualify the car for the grid, but knowing Beth, I know that her team will be up for the task.”"

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The 105th running of the Indy 500 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 30, and the race is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET.