Beth Paretta’s journey toward becoming a full-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES team owner took an important step this week as she and driver Simona De Silvestro take their strong partnership to three races this summer with their eyes on 2023.
Paretta Autosport announced Tuesday it will enter the No. 16 Chevrolet with sponsorship support from KiwiCo and a technical alliance with Ed Carpenter Racing this season at Road America, Mid-Ohio and the streets of Nashville.
Longtime motorsports executive Paretta made this decision in concert with De Silvestro, who is not only her driver but has become her de facto partner when considering what the present and future of her start-up race team look like.
“I obviously called Simona, we talked it through, and she was like, ‘Immediately, yes,’” Paretta said. “We have been on the same page, which I think is also really helpful because she trusts me. She trusts me that I'm going to make a sound decision, but I'm also obviously respectful to her that I'm going to also run an idea by her to say this is what I'm thinking.”
Paretta and De Silvestro have been partners in this race team since the beginning. Not only is it important for Paretta to have a consistent driver presence as she builds her race team, but her Swiss driver has meshed with the team very well. Paretta’s female-forward team will bring back most, if not all, of the women that helped wrench the car last year during the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
She initially chose De Silvestro as her driver because of her talents. De Silvestro is a seasoned NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver who scored a best finish of second in 2013 at Houston. But as she spends more time with De Silvestro, Paretta has learned that she is a leader people can rally around.
“What's great about Simona is her personality,” Paretta said. “She's so even tempered. She works really well with the engineers, but her personality is such that it's easy for the crew to rally around her because she's likable. She is smart. She is dedicated. She works so hard.”
While this is a partnership that is only 15 months in the making, Paretta and De Silvestro have nurtured this into a partnership of two strong, successful women looking to make their mark on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
“Me and Beth, just last year was the first time we worked together,” De Silvestro said. “We really support each other in that sense. We are really great teammates. She has trust in me, my capabilities, to give me this opportunity. It's amazing.”
Part of the reason Paretta and De Silvestro chose Road America, Mid-Ohio and Nashville as their three NTT INDYCAR SERIES races is because of De Silvestro’s busy schedule – she still serves as a reserve driver for Porsche’s Formula E team. But these are also tracks where they expect her to do well.
In four races at Mid-Ohio, De Silvestro has a best finish of eighth, and finished 11th and 12th in two other races there. She has never competed at Road America, but her performance on permanent road courses, like her ninth-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in 2011, suggest the fast, flowing track in Wisconsin will suit her.
When they tackle the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in August on the streets of Nashville, Paretta is excited for De Silvestro’s potential thanks to her Formula E experience – the series is run exclusively on street courses, and De Silvestro spends ample time in the simulator as a reserve driver. Plus, of De Silvestro’s 15 NTT INDYCAR SERIES top 10 finishes, 10 of them came on street course races.
“Personally, I think it's amazing the places we're going back to,” De Silvestro said. “I think we can really push each other. I think Mid-Ohio is a place that I've been pretty fast, so I look forward to it. I think it's really an important step for us to grow this team and get it in the right direction.”
In addition to the strong potential for success, these races will make Paretta Autosport a more well-rounded organization as it adds two road courses and a street course to the superspeedway on its resume. Sure, the team still won’t have experience on a short oval, but it gives Paretta a sense of optimism as she strives to turn her organization into a full-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES team, hopefully in 2023.
“Last year when I was looking to do the additional races, what I was going to do was add a street and road course race,” Paretta said. “We kind of get what we were missing. It's adding to everybody's repertoire. We're adding skills.”
While Paretta won’t enter a car in this year’s Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 29, she’ll still be around throughout the Month of May. She believes this year is still a learning opportunity for her as she looks at the event from a broader perspective instead of getting lost in the tiny details of the world’s largest single-day sporting event.
Plus, it makes her appreciate what she accomplished in 2021 that much more.
“We made a promise of this intention of what we wanted to do, and I feel like this is a little bit of keeping that promise,” Paretta said. “So, I'm proud of that. May will hit me differently this year, because now I really know the work goes into this.”