Paretta Autosport hits the track after announcing primary sponsorship
Simona de Silvestro completed her veteran refresher test as Indycar returns to IMS, after Rocket Pro TPO was announced as Paretta Motorsport's main sponsor for this years´ 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 – creating the "Rocket Accelerator", a campaign to highlight female leaders in racing and in the mortgage industry.
It was a rain shortened day, but on Thursday Swiss racing driver Simona de Silvestro made her veteran refresher program and returned to IndyCar after six years, as her new team Paretta Autosport made their debut at the Indianapolis International Speedway.
51 laps with a best speed of 218.927 mph – plus 6 minutes more minutes on Friday that make her refresher program successful.
“It definitely feels pretty fast out there when you haven’t driven here for so long,” she said. “We’re working on the race car and just myself, as well getting comfortable. It’s been really positive. The car feels really good. I felt comfortable right away, which I think is something super positive", explained Simona.
It is her first return to the track since 2015, when she finished 19th at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Now everything is a bit different, with a new car and with the areoscreen: “The Aeroscreen is just a bit different, especially when you’re behind cars,” Simona commented. “Before, you always used to have a bit of helmet buffer when you get close, and now that’s gone. And the thing is, it’s so fast around here that you kind of need to take your time and get your brain to slow down a little bit. It’s already feeling a bit slower and getting comfortable with the car, knowing your lines and what to do.”
To support Simona, the whole team at Paretta Autosport trained for each situation that could happen on the most important weekend – with mentorship from Team Penske. They began pit stop practice on a static car before moving to an electric car that rolled into the pit and, finally, the real stops in racing trim. That's particularly impressive given the fact that every woman working on the car has a fulltime job besides her career in racing.
“I’ve always said if you have the attitude, the aptitude and the interest, you can learn the skillset,” team principal Beth Paretta said. “We can teach you how to do any of this. Don’t kid yourself. Every person in this garage at one point was a rookie. Ideally, you have the gift sometimes to teach someone who is a rookie, and hopefully these women will teach those behind them.”
Simona worked together with Scott McLaughlin, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Josef Newgarden in a larger group in Friday's session, in order to learn from each other.
Four-time Indy500 winner Rick Mears is also supporting the team as driver coach.
Additionally, Paretta Autosport had recently announced the main sponsor for the #16 car of Simona de Silvestro: it will be Rocket Pro TPO to be front-and-center, with its red and white dominant branding on the car, firesuit and crew suits.
“Having Rocket Pro TPO come onboard as our primary sponsor for this year’s Indy 500 is a perfect partnership,” said Beth Paretta, CEO and team principal of Paretta Autosport. “We are both huge proponents of highlighting the power of women, while also using technology and speed to be the best at what we do. I cannot wait for what we will be able to accomplish as a team – both on and off the track.”
Together, Paretta and Rocket Pro TPO have created the "Rocket Accelerator", a campaign to highlight, innovate and support women in leading positions in the mortgage as much as in the motor racing industries. The project aims at improving access to employment in both fields. Rocket Pro TPO is in fact a divison of Rocket Mortgage and supports the independent mortgage broker community.
“It is an honor to be able to use the Indianapolis 500 to highlight and amplify the important role that women play in our industry, in our company and in independent mortgage brokers’ offices all across the country,” said Austin Niemiec, Executive Vice President of Rocket Pro TPO.
“Rocket Accelerator will be a central focus of our business as we look to expand opportunities and access for female brokers, while also creating educational programs for the next generation to give them the keys to unlocking their full potential with a robust career.”
The 2021 Indy500 is scheduled for 30th May.