'Lucky' De Silvestro talks pre-Bathurst surgery scare

26 Sep
'At the time, you're not sure how bad it is'
3 mins by James Pavey
  • De Silvestro, Allen to test DJR wildcard in coming days

  • Swiss driver underwent emergency surgery last month

  • 35-year-old set for first Bathurst start since 2019 in third DJR Mustang

Simona De Silvestro had little trouble ‘getting back on the horse’ after an emergency surgery scare that threatened to derail her hopes of a first Bathurst start in four years.

This year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 will be a special one for De Silvestro, who will share a Shell V-Power Racing Team wildcard with rookie Kai Allen.

By now, however, De Silvestro and Allen should have enjoyed ample time in their #98 Ford — but the Swiss driver’s body thought otherwise.

Four weeks after the wildcard was announced, Dick Johnson Racing revealed De Silvestro had undergone surgery to remove her appendix.

The surgery delayed her travels to Australia and pushed back DJR’s wildcard test plans, with the #98 crew finally set to test in coming days ahead of next weekend’s Great Race.

de silvestro allen wildcard livery 1

De Silvestro said the pain and eventual surgery came as a shock, but once aware of her positive prognosis, Mount Panorama returned to the front of her mind.

“It was painful,” she told Supercars.com of her surgery.

“You’re kind of fine, then a few hours later, you’re on the operating table. Often you have time to prepare.

“It was close to bursting, in that sense I was lucky — if it burst, I would’ve been more of a mess. I had great doctors.


“At the time, you’re not sure how bad it is. but once they said the surgery went well, I know that I’m the sort of person that can get back on the horse quickly.

“The team was super cool to move test dates to accomodate me, they were on top of things and made it happen.”

De Silvestro’s return to the Mountain caps a four-year journey, given COVID-19 prevented further returns Down Under following her departure in 2019.

simona de silvestro sandown 2023

In June, the 35-year-old returned to Australia for the first time since 2019, when she attended the betr Darwin Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway. Last weekend, she finally returned after her surgery, and supported DJR trackside at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.

It has been an incredibly busy time since her flastnal Supercars race in November 2019, with De Silvestro the test and development driver for Porsche’s Formula E team, as well as racing in ADAC GT Masters, GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia.

De Silvestro also returned to IndyCar with Paretta Autosport, and in 2021, made her first Indianapolis 500 start since 2015. In 2022, she clocked up four road/street course starts. It saw De Silvestro share the track with Scott McLaughlin, who dominated Supercars with DJR Team Penske during her time in Australia.

In a sense, the DJR opportunity brings De Silvestro full circle: "At the end of ’19, I was like, for sure I'm going to see everyone in a few months.

“I’d planned to come back to Australia and say hi, then all of a sudden, it was three-and-a-half years!

“When I raced here, DJR were the team to beat. It’s an amazing opportunity, and it’s amazing that the team called me. It’s a perfect story for a comeback.”

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