Simona de Silvestro signs three-year Supercars deal
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Simona de Silvestro joins Supercars Championship for 2017 and beyond
It has been announced this morning that Switzerland's Simona de Silvestro will join the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2017 on a full-time basis, having signed a three-year deal — though the team she will be competing with is an unknown.
It coincides with the confirmation that de Silvestro and Renee Gracie's 2016 Bathurst 1000 assault will be performed with a fifth Nissan Motorsport Altima V8, leading many to predict that de Silvestro will drive a Nissan Altima in next year's championship; potentially as a replacement for Todd Kelly or Dale Wood.
“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,” de Silvestro said.
“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. This is going to be my first full-time year with a closed top car and there a lot of new things for me to learn and adapt to.
“I am very respectful towards this new challenge but at the same time I am very excited about driving in such a competitive championship. I can’t wait to jump in the car to work towards getting the most out of these cars.”
Photo / Daniel Kalisz, Getty Images
The announcement comes as Nissan continue to deliberate on whether they will continue to support the series on a factory basis beyond 2016. It's expected that they will reveal their plans later this month.
"This is an exciting announcement for the sport and a major coup for Supercars," Supercars CEO James Warburton said.
"We said we wanted to have a full-time female driver in our championship and in Simona we have secured a world class driver.
"Along with Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher she is one of only three female drivers to have stood on the podium in IndyCar and she will be a brilliant addition to Supercars.
“I want to thank Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page for their support of the Harvey Norman Supergirls and the South Australian Government for its support in making this happen.
“There will be great anticipation when Simona lines up on the grid at Clipsal 500 Adelaide next March. What is really exciting is that she has committed to three years which gives her a great opportunity to make her mark in the sport.”