Dani Ben-Ari
The Driving Range

The 2010 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro, returns to the Brickyard for the first time in six years as the designated driver for Paretta Autosport’s first attempt in the big race.

Newly established by former SRT director Beth Paretta, Paretta Autosports will begin its inaugural run in the NTT INDYCAR as part of the IndyCar series “Race for Equality and Change” designed to encourage women and girls to pursue STEM-related careers as mechanics, engineers, drivers, and business management, etc. And while most of the crew are female, including pit crew members Madison Conrad, Mallorie Mulller, Lauren Sullivan and Amanda Frayer, the ”#16 Chevrolet-powered car will be supported by Team Penske. Meanwhile sponsorship is being provided by Rocket Pro TPO, a division of Rocket Mortgage.

“At Paretta Autosport, the competitive spirit drives us. We work hard and always strive for better: for ourselves, for our team, and for others,” avered Beth.

Meanwhile Simona added her own appreciation to IndyCar for its own support for women in motorsports and leadershop role on providing greater opportunity for all in motorsports.

“I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity to return to Indianapolis and the Indy 500 with Paretta Autosport this year,” De Silvestro told AutoSports Weekly.said. “My career really took off through my time competing in IndyCar and the Indy 500, so returning to compete with Beth and her new team in alliance with Team Penske is a special and rare chance in my career.

Nicknamed the “Iron Maiden,” deSilvestro finished a respectable 19th out of a field of 31 during the 100th running of the Indy 500 in 2015, before switching over to Formula E racing for Andretti Autosports at the season final in London that same year. The following year (2016), deSilvestro drove into Formula E history by becoming the 1st and only woman to score points in the division, She later became the first female driver to compete full-time in the Australian Supercars series (2017-2019) with Kelly Racing (Nissan) and Team Harvey Norman.

Although women have competed in the Indy 500 for decades, including Janet Guthrie, Milka Duno, Lyn St. James, Danica Patrick, Pippa Man, Katherine Legge, Sarah Fisher, Desire Wilson, and Anna Beatriz, if deSilvestro qualifies, it may help assuage the disappointment Paretta felt as team principle for all female racing team Grace Autosports back in 2016, when Katherine Legge failed to qualify for the Indy 500 that year.

Qualifying rounds (during which 35 cars will compete for 33 spots on the grid will be held Saturday May 22. The Indianapolis 500 will be run May 30th.