With the IZOD IndyCar Series touching down in Southern California this weekend for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing driver Simona De Silvestro is returning to a place that holds special memories for her. In 2008, then a driver in the Atlantic Championship Series, De Silvestro scored her first Atlantic series victory on the streets of the seaside city. Two years on, the Swiss rookie is eager to build on the promising form she has shown in her first three IndyCar races.
“I'm very happy to be back at Long Beach, especially since this is a place where I have won at before,” she said. “Long Beach is special to me in many ways. It was where I earned my first Atlantic series win and, when I was 4 years old, I recall coming to Long Beach as a tourist with my parents. While visiting the Queen Mary, my dad pointed out to me that they were racing cars over on the other side!
“Long Beach has always been a pretty cool place for me. I never thought that I would be back here racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series and now that I am, I'm hoping for a great result this weekend.”
Although she's been consistently competitive, the races have yet to go her way, with a series of unfortunate circumstances making her final results less than her performances have suggested. Most recently, a late spin in last week's race at Barber Motorsports Park dropped her from 11th to 21st at the flag.
“We had a pretty good race going there for a while,” she said of the Barber event. “We were trying to save fuel during the race, which is the first time I have ever had to do that. I learned a lot. We were running pretty well until I made an unfortunate mistake on my downshift – needed second gear but I downshifted too many times and it went to first and I spun. I won't be making that mistake anymore…”