Walkinshaw Andretti United’s international wildcard pairing of James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi have been backed to make a solid impression at Bathurst next month.
The IndyCar duo have received support from Kelly Racing driver Simona De Silvestro, who raced against Hinchcliffe full-time in the American open-wheeler series between 2011 and 2013.
De Silvestro, 31, made her first Supercars start as a wildcard Bathurst in 2015, eventually stepping up to a full-time seat two years later.
While Hinchcliffe had a brief experience in a Supercar at the 2012 Gold Coast 600 with Garry Rogers Motorsport, Rossi’s first taste will come at a three-day test at Winton on October 1-3.
'Unique' atmosphere a big attraction for wildcard
Able to relate to their situation through her own experiences, De Silvestro believes the Canadian-American combination will surprise doubters.
“I think they will do pretty well – they’re in a good team and they have a lot of race craft, both of them,” she told Supercars.com.
“So I think in the race they will be quite strong because they’re not going to do anything silly.”
De Silvestro feels the revered Mount Panorama is actually a good circuit on which to transition from IndyCar to Supercars.
De Silvestro's Supercars debut at Bathurst in 2015
One of De Silvestro’s strongest Supercars outings came at Bathurst in 2017, where she ran in the top 10 late in the race before crashing out.
“Getting used to a Supercar is something a little bit different but I think Bathurst is actually the best one to get into because it’s a bit more flowy,” De Silvestro said.
“It’s a bit more like The Bend which suits me a lot because I have a lot of open-wheel background, so you can flow a lot and use the little bit of downforce that you have.
“Bathurst is a little bit similar so I think they will be alright and I’m sure they are going to have a lot of fun.”
Hinchcliffe and Rossi will carry the #27 used by the latter in his usual IndyCar exploits for Andretti Autosport, with backing from NAPA Auto Parts.
They will form part of an expanded three-car WAU operation for the Great Race, alongside the regular entries of Scott Pye/Warren Luff and James Courtney/Jack Perkins.