Engineer change for De Silvestro in 2018

  • 18/12/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Simona De Silvestro will enter her second full-time Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season with a new race engineer.

Nissan Motorsport has recruited Chris Stuckey, who this year worked with Lee Holdsworth at Preston Hire Racing.

Stuckey replaces Blake Smith, who has moved into a role away from motorsport after spending this season working with Nissan remotely from his Sydney base.

Melbourne-based Stuckey spent a single season with Preston Hire but has a decade of Supercars experience under his belt.

He’s previously worked at Tony D’Alberto Racing (2008-10), Brad Jones Racing (’11-12), Erebus Motorsport (’13), Dick Johnson Racing (’14) and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport (’15-16), with the LDM stint including a victory at the Adelaide 500 with Nick Percat.

Preston Hire Racing has elected to promote internally to fill Stuckey’s position, with data engineer Stuart McDonald stepping up to the main role.

De Silvestro finished her rookie Supercars campaign 24th in the standings with a best result of 13th achieved at Phillip Island in April.

Her most impressive run, however, occurred in the Newcastle season finale where, on a level-playing field, she raised eyebrows with a number of sharp passes.

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Nissan Motorsport manager Scott Sinclair says he’s looking forward to seeing the former IndyCar and Formula E driver develop further next year.

“We’re really excited to have Chris join the team in 2018,” Sinclair told Supercars.com.

“Chris is someone we’ve been talking to for a number of years.

“His ability to work with drivers in coaching them, as well as engineering the car, is something that will be important for the #78.

“Simona had a pretty solid rookie season, so we think it’s realistic for that car to be more competitive next year.”

The remainder of Nissan’s engineering line-up will remain unchanged.

Steven Todkill continues a 10-year working relationship with Michael Caruso that stretches back to their days at Garry Rogers Motorsport, and George Commins remains with Rick Kelly.

Andre Heimgartner’s move into Todd Kelly’s former seat means the young Kiwi reunites with Dilan Talabani, who moved to Nissan in 2017 after two seasons working at Super Black Racing, where Heimgartner was domiciled in ’15.

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