Paretta Autosport and Simona de Silvestro back in IndyCar in 2022
History was made last year when Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro and the female-forward team Paretta Autosport started the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. They promised to be back - and they delivered: the team will make their 2022 racing debut at Road America, in a partial program in cooperation with Ed Carpenter Racing.
It was a historic day for De Silvestro, Beth Paretta and the entire Paretta Autosport crew in 2021 at the 105th Indy500: the end result didn't show the huge effort the whole team made over the time to compete in America's biggest formula racing series, but they promised it wasn't meant to be a one-off, and they delivered. Paretta Autosport and Simona De Silvestro are back - and will be starting their first 2022 event at Road America on 12th June.
“I am thrilled to announce that we will be back competing in the NTT INDYCAR Series in 2022" - said Beth Paretta in a Tuesday press conference. "We had a great first year working with Roger Penske and Team Penske in 2021 as part of the Race for Equality and Change initiative and since then I have been working on building the right structure and opportunity to continue to grow our team."
The team has announced a new technical partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing for a partial campaign that so far includes three races but that aims to grow its schedule.
"This new technical alliance with Ed Carpenter Racing is exciting for us and will allow us to continue to grow and compete in multiple races this season", added the Team Principal. "Additionally, I am proud to continue our association with Chevrolet who has valued, supported, and championed our efforts for diversity and inclusion from the beginning."
"This alignment has helped us amplify our message in a meaningful way and we can’t wait to get back on track with them. Finally, we are pleased to welcome KiwiCo to our team and the NTT INDYCAR Series. This partnership will allow us to connect our effort on track to kids and parents at home which is a critical ingredient of our mission", explained Paretta, inviting fans to visit them at the track to learn more about the newly-announced sponsor.
Team owner Beth Paretta was the first female director of a performance brand and motorsport operations (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and in this position, she led the racing programs with success. She is also a board member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America - and has launched Paretta Autosports to lead diversity initiatives in Indycar.
Iron Maiden - as Simona De Silvestro is nicknamed in the US - started racing in karting at the age of 7, before stepping up to single seaters in the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 series.
In 2006, de Silvestro competed in Formula BMW USA, as she started her successful career in the United States, followed by her multiple race winning campaign in the 2009 Toyota Atlantic championship.
Her IndyCar debut came one year later and she was awarded Indy500 Rookie of the Year and with the Tony Renna Firestone Rising Star. Her first podium in IndyCar came in 2013 at Houston, where she claimed her best finish to date with second.
Her nickname 'Iron Maiden' comes from her second IndyCar season with HVM Racing, when a huge crash occurred to de Silvestro in the Indy500 test day for the Indy500 resulted in a big fire surrounding the driver. With second degree burns to the back of her right hand and superficial burns to her left hand, Simona managed to complete the qualifying session on the next day and qualified for the 95th Indy500.
After her USA journey, de Silvestro moved to Australia and was the first woman to compete full-time in the Supercars series, Australia's premier motor racing championship.
She then joined Porsche as a factory driver and reserve driver in Formula E, a position that she keeps to this day alongside her commitments in the ADAC GT Masters championship in 2020 and 2021.
“I’m incredibly grateful to Beth that she keeps having the trust in me and to be able to get one step more into our journey that we’ve started together last year at the Indy 500", commented De Silvestro. "I’m excited to get this opportunity and am really looking forward to going to the places we’re going to."
The partial program so far includes three rounds: Road America, Mid-Ohio and Nashville.
"These are tracks that, in the past, I’ve been quite strong at, so for me it really gives me a lot of confidence", Simona continued.
"To be able to get back into an INDYCAR at those places…I have a huge smile on my face and I’m really looking forward to it."
At the 2021 Indianapolis 500, Paretta ran its program alongside Penske, while now it will be Ed Carpenter Racing to provide technical assistance.
"Associating with Ed Carpenter Racing is going to be great", De Silvestro said.
"I think in them we have a great team as well and it’s an association that is really important for us to grow into the future and hopefully a lot more things will happen together. I think it’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait."
Her 2022 plans remained unclear until today, not having announced a return to GT Masters - which is set to start this weekend at Oschersleben. But, behind the scenes, Simona was training for her Indycar return.
"I’ve been training hard again to get back behind the wheel of an INDYCAR, so I’m really looking forward to it. I want to thank Beth for making it happen. She can be so proud of what she’s doing with the team and the program is going in the right direction and growing. For me to be able to be part of it and us doing it together, I’m really looking forward to it. I’m super excited", she concluded.
Ed Carpenter Racing will supply the race car and several crew members, to augment the returning members from last year's team. Ed Carpenter expressed his interest in helping Paretta become a full-season entrant. The team has also reached a new agreement to renew their commitment with Chevrolet as engine provider.
Paretta Autosport's sponsors have also reflected the team's involvement in inspiring the new generations since its inception. 2022 will be no exception, as KiwiCo joins the squad: the STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, art, math) learning company is developing engaging hands-on projects and activities to spark children's curiosity and creativity to inspire the next generation of innovators.
“We’re excited to partner with Paretta Autosport in the NTT IndyCar Series", said Katie Soo, Chief Marketing Officer of KiwiCo.
"There are so many exciting career opportunities within a race team. We want to open kids' eyes to those possibilities and get them excited about the science and technology that goes into engineering every single IndyCar - everything from learning how wheels grip the track, the physics of aerodynamics and so much more.”
This year Simona De Silvestro and Beth Paretta will attend the Indy500 and the Detroit Grand Prix, but the team itself will return for three road and street courses on 12th June at Road America, followed by the Mid-Ohio round on 3rd July and at the Nashville street circuit on 7th August - targeting more events.