Supergirls fight back

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 07/10/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Renee Gracie has fired back at V8 legend Dick Johnson after he dismissed the chances of the all-female entry at this year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Johnson - whose career was kick-started when he hit 'the Rock' at Bathurst 35 years ago - said Swiss rookie De Silestro and local Renee Gracie "have absolutely no hope at all".

When asked about his prediction they would not finish, Gracie quipped: "Dick Johnson hasn't finished heaps of races so he can't talk."

Known as the Harvey Norman Supergirls, De Silvestro, 27, and Gracie, 20, understand they are facing a mammoth task at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. Both will steer a V8 Supercar at Mount Panorama for the first time, after two test days in the lead-in to the race.

The all-female pairing is the first since 1998 and there has been plenty of attention - and some criticism - since the announcement of their wild card entry in August.

Gracie - who races the second tier Dunlop Series - was disappointed by Johnson's comments and believes they will prove the critics wrong on Sunday.

"He's got a team and a heavy involvement in this sport, so it's a bit disappointing coming from someone like him," Gracie told v8supercars.com.au.

"But it is what it is and we'll prove him wrong at the end of the day."

Gracie felt Johnson's comments meant he wasn't supportive of women breaking into motorsport.

"It's disappointing from someone in the sport who has been around long enough and who should really be behind this sport," she said.

"He's been around long enough and he should be excited seeing females in the sport and something getting so much coverage internationally as well [as locally]."

International import and IndyCar racer De Silvestro wasn't worried about the comments and was unsure of the weight Johnson carries.

"I don't know who Dick Johnson is!" she said.

"So I didn't even know what he really said - but it is what it is, I guess."

The Swiss racer has been in Australia for a fortnight and after so much Bathurst talk, is eager to hit the track. She will have her first taste of the FG X at Mount Panorama tomorrow, when practice kicks off at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

De Silvestro has measured expectations about the weekend.

"It's kind of hard to put something on right now because I don't really know how close the field is, how close we are and how we are going to go.

"But we have some things we have to check off and when we check them off I think at the end the result will be ok.

"So we just have to get in the car, do our job and then the results will come."

The Harvey Norman Supergirls' car is prepared by Prodrive Racing Australia, which has won Bathurst the last two years running.

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