Supercars first full-time female racer Simona De Silvestro will be stepping into the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship come the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, March 2-5.
The team noted De Silvestro is due to arrive in Australia at the end of the month and begin her preparation with Nissan Motorsport before taking the wheel of her Altima at the Clipsal 500.
Team Owner Todd Kelly expressed his excitement to have De Silvestro form part of the four-car operation this year.
“She’s a real driver and its quite refreshing to see someone come in with the enthusiasm she’s got,” Kelly told Supercars.com.
“Simona has a really good understanding of the car, what it’s doing and what she wants out of it which is certainly an important part of being a race driver.
“One of the things I was really interested in was her level of feedback when she first drove our car… There is quite quickly a group of four of five people gathering around the way she presents the issues the car has is extremely good”.
Kelly said the team is realistic with their expectations of De Silvestro in 2017.
“The one thing that’s a given is it’s not easy and it takes time,” Kelly said.
“We have seen the best drivers from all around the globe come and drive these cars…its always the same feedback they are a very challenging car to get your head around you can be fairly consistent and reliable in the car but finding that last half a second is where it can take a lot of time”.
He emphasised difficulties the Swiss-born racer will face taking on the Adelaide street circuit for the first time and the amount of work to be done in the short time they have with De Silvestro before hitting the track.
“There are certainly a lot of challenges in her first year and I think everyone realises how tough it will be that has been involved in the category in recent years,” Kelly told Supercars.com.
“Unfortunately for Simona it’s one of the hardest races we do will be her first hit out in the series in her own car.
“She has never done a race like Clipsal before with the heat and all the things you need to keep in mind so she will have a fair bit of footage of the race event to study when she lands.
“Her heat training concerns me, she’s been in the alps snow skiing which is quite the opposite to what she will be doing when she gets off a plane here and gets to Adelaide”.
Despite Kelly’s concern, he highlighted the extensive fitness regime De Silvestro is undertaking in her preparation for Supercars.
“She has been doing a lot of fitness work and we have a pretty solid plan of our specific fitness regime which we developed overtime with our sport scientists, so she will be busy getting prepared for Adelaide”.