Swiss driver Simona De Silvestro will team up with Australian rising star Renee Gracie in an all-female team for this year’s Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars endurance race.
De Silvestro, considered one the world’s leading female drivers, will join Gracie in the first all-women pairing to tackle Mount Panorama since Melinda Price and Kerryn Brewer in 1998.
The 26-year-old raced four full seasons of America’s IndyCar series as well as this year’s Indianapolis 500, where she came 19th in an Andretti Autosport backed entry.
Her career highlight was a second in the Grand Prix of Houston in 2013 joining American star Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher as the only women in IndyCar history to record a podium finish.
De Silvestro is also set to race in the electric-car Formula E world championship later this year.
“The Bathurst 1000 race was actually the first V8 supercars race that I ever watched and it looked amazing,” she said.
“The track looks great from what I have seen on TV. It looks really challenging and I can’t wait to see it for real and to drive around it.”
V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton says the all-women pairing would add to the global exposure of the 1000km endurance classic.
“The exciting all-female combination of Simona and Renee will receive world wide attention and add even more interest to this iconic event,” he said.
“Bathurst is one of the world’s top five motor races, sitting comfortably alongside Le Mans, Monaco and the Indy 500 and this is one of the most significant announcements in the history of the event.”
Gracie is currently the only woman competing in the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series, the development championship to the main category.
The 20-year-old Queenslander is in her debut campaign in the Dunlop Series after spending the past two years racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup.
De Silvestro and Gracie are one of two wildcard entries for this year’s event along with Newcastle brothers Aaren and Drew Russell.
V8 Championship leading team Prodrive Racing Australia will provide the racing services to the De Silvestro and Gracie entry.