INDIANAPOLIS — Simona de Silvestro will drive for the newly formed Paretta Autosport in the 2021 Indianapolis 500, a year after race was run without a woman driver for the first time since 2000.
Paretta Autosport team principal Beth Paretta, IMS president Doug Boles and Penske Entertainment Corp. chief diversity officer Jimmie McMillain announced the formation of the woman-led team at a news conference Tuesday.
The team is an extension of IndyCar's Race for Equality and Change initiative, they said. Team Penske will provide technical support to help Paretta Autosport prepare for the May 30 race.
De Silvestro, 32, has started in five Indy 500s and was named the 2010 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year.
"Throughout my career, I've worked really hard to get to this point," de Silvestro said. "All the stars are aligned at the moment and I'm really excited about it."
Paretta Autosport will employ women throughout its team and provide opportunities in all aspects of racing from competition to operations to administrative roles.
"Today is the beginning of a commitment to gender equity in sport, to encourage women to work hard so they can earn their seat at the table or spot on the grid,” Paretta said in a news release. “IndyCar has been a leader and a welcoming place for women for many years because of the hard work of many women and men before us, but now we have a stronger commitment with IndyCar’s ‘Race for Equality & Change’ to make sure opportunities continue in the future."
Watch the news conference in the player below: