Simona de Silvestro felt the need to leave the comfort of the only team she’s ever raced for in the IZOD IndyCar Series to advance her career. KV Racing Technology hopes the infusion of the young driving talent can bring it back to the front.
The popular Swiss driver will join KV Racing Technology in 2013, where she will drive the No. 78 Chevrolet-powered Indy car alongside former series champion Tony Kanaan.
“It’s definitely exciting to be joining KV Racing (Technology),” de Silvestro said. “I’ve had a lot of good results in the past and I think this will help me get more (results). Having a teammate like Tony is really cool. I’m just really looking forward to the season.”
After being saddled with the underachieving Lotus engine in 2012, the 24-year-old native of Thun, Switzerland began looking at options for the 2013 season. She said she’s found a “perfect fit” with KV Racing Technology, which fielded cars for Kanaan, E.J. Viso and Rubens Barrichello in 2012.
"I am very happy to welcome Simona to KV Racing Technology," says team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. "I have been watching her race for many years and she shows tremendous talent. I think we will really see this on the road/street courses and having Tony as a teammate will provide her a wealth of information, so I am excited for what the 2013 season will hold."
KV Racing Technology also welcomes Imran Safiulla as a team principal. Safiulla, an international industrialist who has supported De Silvestro’s racing efforts since 2006, expects the new arrangement to be a successful endeavor for both De Silvestro and KV Racing Technology.
"We are delighted to announce Simona to KV,” said team co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “She has shown a lot of determination and to now be able to work with someone as experienced as Kanaan will be a huge asset for her. I would also like to welcome our new co-owner Imran Safiulla to the team and hope we have a successful 2013."
But leaving HVM Racing, the team which brought her to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010, didn’t make de Silvestro’s decision very easy.
“When you change teams it’s always hard,” said de Silvestro, who tested with her new team for the first time on Oct. 29 at Barber Motorsports Park. “The other team was like a family, but it was time for a change, and this opportunity made a lot of sense. You have to get used to working with new people, especially when you’ve been somewhere three years with the same people. But yesterday, it was fun and we had a good test for the first time together.”
Key to the move was the support of sponsors Nuclear Clean Air Energy, Entergy and AREVA, who will move along with de Silvestro to her new team. Working with a teammate for the first time in her career was also appealing.
“I think it’s really important to have a teammate,” she said. “In my career, I’ve always been by myself. I think having data and having someone like Tony on the team will really help me. Tony and I get along really well. He has lot of experience knows a lot about the car and racing. Having him as a teammate is really important, and I’m going to learn a lot from him.”
And it also leaves her confident that she can contend for podiums and wins in 2013.
“That was my goal last year, but we didn’t have the engine to do it,” de Silvestro said. “I think have great team behind me, great engineering support and Chevy power will be a big difference. It’s fun to drive again. Hopefully, it can push us forward to accomplish all of our goals.”