Leon Bignell MP
Minister for Tourism
The Clipsal 500 Adelaide will have its first full-time female driver at next year’s event, with world-class Swiss driver Simona De Silvestro joining the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
The 27 year-old former IndyCar and Formula E driver has signed a three-year agreement to race Supercars.
De Silvestro raced in last year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and will return to Mount Panorama for this October's race as part of the Harvey Norman Supergirls with Australian driver Renee Gracie.
Quotes attributable to Tourism Minister Leon Bignell
Having Simona race in the Clipsal 500 is brilliant news for one of the most exciting events on South Australia’s sporting calendar.
Simona is renowned for breaking records. This year she became the first female driver to score points in Formula E in Long Beach.
I have said many times the State Government wants to promote women in all sports and I hope Simona’s incredible talent helps to encourage more girls and women to consider a career in motorsport.
The Clipsal 500 Adelaide is the pinnacle of motorsport events in Australia, attracting 263,500 visitors and pumping more than $40 million into the visitor economy in 2016.
Our Government has invested $70 million to market South Australia nationally and internationally and to attract major events and conferences. The funding is in addition to this year’s mega sport State Budget announcement in which more than $40 million was pumped into grassroots sports and facility upgrades across the State – including $10 million for female change rooms at sport clubs.
Quotes attributable to Simona De Silvestro
I have had my first taste of driving these cars last year at the Bathurst 1000. It was such an incredible experience and I knew this could be a goal for the future.
That this goal became reality so quickly is fantastic and I have to thank James Warburton for believing in me and wanting me in Supercars. This is going to be my first full-time year with a closed top car and there a lot of new things for me to learn and adapt to.
I am very respectful towards this new challenge but at the same time I am very excited about driving in such a competitive championship. I can’t wait to jump in the car to work towards getting the most out of these cars.
Quotes attributable to Supercars Chief Executive James Warburton
We said we wanted to have a full-time female driver in our championship and in Simona we have secured a world class driver.
Along with Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher she is one of only three female drivers to have stood on the podium in IndyCar and she will be a brilliant addition to Supercars.
There will be great anticipation when Simona lines up on the grid at Clipsal 500 Adelaide next March. What is really exciting is that she has committed to three years which gives her a great opportunity to make her mark in the sport.