Swiss racer Simona de Silvestro is the latest female driver to be announced for the 2021 Extreme E all electric off-road series as she joins Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, Jamie Chadwick and Katherine Legge.
Silvestro has been active in different motorsport disciplines over the past 15 years, starting in Formula Renault 2.0 and later moving to USA where she has was active in Champ Car Atlantic and IndyCar.
“I came into this sphere of motorsport from the start with Formula E and you had the feeling then it was something new and important, all of us are well aware that we can’t keep going how we are now if we’re to avoid the worst effects of climate change.” Silvestro, said.
“For me it’s exciting to be a part of series that are pushing the boundaries of cars and automotive technology – Formula 1 was doing that when you think back, and now with Extreme E.“
In just a little under five years, she claimed the third spot in the Atlantic Championship which earned her place to be enter in to the IndyCar Series in 2010 and has since then had two-top ten finishes and finished second of the rookies in the standings.
After four active seasons in the IndyCar, she moved to ABB Formula E when she joined the Formula 1 outfit Sauber Motorsport team. Now in the second season she became the first female point scorer in the championship at the Long Beach round.
“I’ve been lucky enough to race in a lot of cool places but Extreme E’s destinations are all very different – they’ll be incredible to check out and discover whilst raising awareness and changing people’s way of thinking.” Silvestro, continued.
“It’s a privilege to be a driver in this era and be able to try to make a difference. I’ve followed progress of electric motorsport very closely and Alejandro Agag’s vision and drive is clear to see now with Extreme E.”
Most recently, Extreme E announced that the teams will be including a 50/50 line-up of both male and female drivers for the Season One that starts next year and Silvestro is one of many female drivers that has showed interest to sign up for the first-ever all electric off-road series.
“It’s a great idea and it’s never been done before, in most of motorsport, as drivers, you’re kind of alone. Having the opportunity to team up with someone is great and it’s going to be a lot of fun. You’ll be approaching everything as a pair and as a team. There will be no room for selfishness and it’ll be something new to work together with the boys and try and win races.” Silvestro, said.
“Most of the time throughout my career, I’ve been the only girl on the grid, so it will certainly be different. I experienced working in a more female-led environment in the 24 Hours of Daytona where we had an all-female team.”
“Here, it’s cool because gender just doesn’t matter and whoever is the quickest combination of drivers, team and engineers will come out on top. It balances things out – everybody has to contribute and the format is there to create that opportunity.”
The 31-year-old is a no stranger when it comes to racing with electric machinery but she has less experience on loose and icy surface. She is looking forward to the season start and to tackle the 550hp Oddyssey 21 E-SUV for first time.
“I haven’t had much experience on loose surfaces like gravel or ice so it will be extremely fun and a new challenge,” Silvestro continued.
“The whole concept is quite special, with the goal of raising awareness of issues facing the planet and the race locations. I’m extremely excited by it – it’s completely different and it’s a whole new way of thinking from the male/female format, the remote locations and environments. For every competitor, it’ll absolutely be something where you’ll be learning as you go.”
“Experience of how electric powertrains work and deliver their power right away is something that could help me that I can bring over from Formula E but it’ll be interesting to see how that works off-road! It’s a new way of thinking.“
“The car’s really powerful. I saw Ken Block complete the power stage at Dakar and that was pretty incredible so early into the car’s development – it is already pushing boundaries and it was right up there on the pace.” Silvestro added.
Extreme E is a platform to be using for the promotion of electrication as they highlight climate change by racing in remote locations, the first season will kick-off in the beginning of next year and will feature locations such as Brazil, Greenland and West Africa on the calendar.