Simona De Silvestro says heading into the Australian wilderness for Nissan Motorsport’s annual pre-enduro training camp was “kind of crazy”, ahead of her maiden PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
Nissan’s Supercars drivers and co-drivers headed out to a Kelly family property in Mildura in north-west Victoria last weekend, one week out from the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Supercars rookie De Silvestro says the focus of the trip was team building rather than physical training, and a departure from anything she had done in Europe or the US.
Activities across the two days included finding a wheel and battery – hidden by Todd Kelly several days earlier – to then repair a truck hidden on the property and buggy racing.
“It was quite a cool experience,” the Swiss racer told Supercars.com.
“It was a big team bonding effort, it was just the drivers and co-drivers, we got through some fun stuff like driving the buggies through the sand dunes.
“They gave us some coordinates and we had to walk around and find things, we had a 10km hike and things like that.
“It was a bit different but all of us had a job to do throughout the day, so nobody could get annoyed at each other.
“We had to work as a team and that was a good experience.”
Based in Melbourne, De Silvestro said the trip was to the most-remote part of Australia she has seen so far.
“It’s definitely how you can imagine Australia a little bit, you can have some land and have some fun out there,” De Silvestro added.
“It was kind of crazy as well, to be there. You would walk for a couple of kays and all of a sudden you are in sand dunes.
“It was quite fun to see how many different terrains there are when you’re out there.
“That was quite cool, we got some kangaroos, got to see a big red one as well. A few firsts for sure.”
Having contested the last two Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000s as a wildcard, including last year with Nissan, De Silvestro will continue her rookie season alongside David Russell.
This enduro campaign is Russell’s seventh with Todd and Rick Kelly’s outfit and fifth in a Nissan.
“He has quite a lot of experience with the team, so that helps for sure,” De Silvestro, 23rd in the championship, said.
“Sharing a car with somebody is a little bit different to what I’m used to.
“All of a sudden you’re not sitting exactly how you want to, so you have to compromise a little bit, but that’s all part of the game.
“I think that’s quite cool for Supercars that there are different challenges thrown at you.
“Teaming up with David will be good, he has a lot of experience and knows the team quite well and knows the car quite well.
“That’s something that it’s only really me getting my head around it and getting my stuff together to have a good result.”