There are no hard feelings from Swiss motorsport driver Simona de Silvestro despite last year’s “Pussy Wagon” controversy at the Bathurst 1000.
However, the ex-IndyCar driver has vowed not to show any mercy to her fellow male competitors at Sunday’s Great Race.
De Silvestro and co-driver Renee Gracie were last year poised to revel in being the first all female team to contest the Mount Panorama race in almost 20 years.
Instead their entry was overshadowed by Ford driver David Reynolds’ now infamous – and dismissive – description of their team.
Reynolds was fined $25,000 for his jibe.
And although Reynolds’s wallet took a beating so did the aforementioned all-female entry, the women finishing last of the cars who didn’t fall victim to the concrete pitfalls of Mount Panorama.
De Silvestro admitted she still had to prove herself against the guys ahead of her full-time Supercars debut next season, on a three-year deal.
She will be the first female to become a full-time touring car driver since Christine Gibson in 1975.
But the former Formula One test driver claimed she would not be motivated by Reynolds’ controversial call.
“It doesn’t matter, it is just a comment,” de Silvestro told AAP.
“As a woman you have to prove yourself.
“I have only been here once and while I didn’t do too well Bathurst is probably the toughest track to be thrown into.
“However, in every series I have been in I have proven I am fast and that is the way I will be accepted again in Supercars – and I know I can do that.”
De Silvestro finally felt acknowledged by the Supercars crowd despite Reynolds’ now infamous description of her team.
“It’s not frustrating that guys still think that way – it’s just a fact,” de Silvestro said of Reynolds, who has since apologised.
“The bottom line is that there are not many female racers.
“I have raced in Formula E and IndyCar and have been the only woman in the field.
“I guess it is like having one guy in a women’s ballet contest – you are compelled to look at him.”
De Silvestro admitted she was feeling the pressure to fly the flag for women at Bathurst.
“It’s not a one off anymore. There is more on the line now,” she said.
“Of course it is always hard to get back into a (touring) car again for the first time in a year (with a long history of racing open wheelers).
“And it’s little things like sitting on the right side, not being in an open wheeler – it’s hard understanding what needs to be done to be quick in this car.”
De Silvestro was adamant her combination with Gracie would come good at Mount Panorama.
“We know we have to improve on our result last year,” she said.