PHILADELPHIA -- The TE Connectivity race car unveiled in front of The Franklin Institute would instantly be one of the most popular displays inside the interactive science and technology museum.
"IndyCars have so much technology and engineering in them, it's really cool," Simona De Silvestro told local junior high and high school students, who were exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiatives in racing at the popular venue in the heart of the city.
With that connection, global technology company TE Connectivity -- with its global headquarters in De Silvestro's native Switzerland and its U.S. base in Philadelphia -- has expanded its relationship with Andretti Autosport to field an entry in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 for De Silvestro, who will drive the orange and white No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda in the May 24 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
De Silvestro, 26, will attempt to make her fifth start in the "500" in the fifth Andretti Autosport entry. She'll be joined by 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2013 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti and Justin Wilson.
“I’m so excited to be representing TE Connectivity at this year’s Indy 500,” said De Silvestro. “It’s really great that they’re partnering with me in my efforts during the Indy 500, and with their advance technologies in my Honda Indy car, I will for sure have one of the best opportunities to win during the Month of May.
"Ryan won last year, so it’s the team you want to be with at the ‘500’ and everybody on the team has run really well there so that will help me and I hope to be in the mix up there with them.”
De Silvestro returned to the Verizon IndyCar Series after a season in Europe to explore Formula One opportunities and drove the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg last weekend. She has made 66 Verizon IndyCar Series starts since her 2010 debut at St. Petersburg.
"You're waiting for the opportunity and you have to be ready for it when it comes. So far, things have come along as we've been hoping so we'll move ahead and give it our best shot."
A Promoter Test on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, featuring the new speedway aerodynamic bodywork package, is scheduled for May 3. Practice for the Indy 500 begins May 11 and qualifications are May 17-18.
“Simona did a great job for us in St. Pete and we are excited to add her as a fifth Andretti entry for the Indy 500,” team owner Michael Andretti said. “We could not have found a better partner than TE Connectivity to be the primary sponsor of the No. 29. While their experience in racing is longstanding with their connector and sensor solutions, they are new to the sponsorship team and show great passion for the sport. I look forward to a successful future with TE Connectivity as part of the Andretti family.”
In March, TE Connectivity was introduced as the Official Connectivity and Sensor Solutions Sponsor to Andretti Autosport. Its 80,000 associates, including 7,500 design engineers, partner with customers in over 150 countries across a wide range of industries.
“TE Connectivity’s connectivity and sensor technologies are in every Andretti Autosport IndyCar and meet the high performance standards and extreme conditions that Andretti Autosport requires,” TE Connectivity chief marketing officer Amy Shah said. “We’re proud to be associated with Andretti Autosport and Simona De Silvestro, two groundbreaking leaders in motorsports. We believe the No. 29 TE Connectivity car incorporates a potent blend of advanced engineering, one of the world’s most exciting female drivers and deep autosport history that will be exciting to watch at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May.”
April 2, 2015 - Simona De Silvestro Sponsorship Announcement Photo Gallery
The Franklin Institute - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania