Thus begins Simonamania

Posted by Iannucci | 3/02/2010 | , | 5 comments »
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Danica, shmanica...check out today's news.

In a collaborative effort with Team Stargate Worlds, HVM Racing will enter driver Simona De Silvestro in all 17 races of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. Known as Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing, the No. 78 entry will carry primary sponsorship from Stargate Resistance and associate sponsorship from Bernard Richards Manufacture (BRM), FireSky, Cheyenne Mountain Games, and Cardinal Technologies.
As a public service to those of us IndyCar who know very little about Simona, I have busted out my Google for reasearch purposes. Here's what I found:

1. Simona is from Switzerland. I realize there will be a certain group of fans who will grumble that this is YET ANOTHER foreign driver in the IndyCar series, but this Swiss Miss has actually lived and competed in the states for a few years and lists her current city of residence as Phoenix. Which of course means there are now two IZOD IndyCar series drivers from here in the Valley of the Sun - and neither of them has the Y chromosome (hint: the other one models swimwear and occasionally drives stock cars). Perhaps we should rename the city "PhoeniXX".

And even if we must consider her a foreigner, I'm not ashamed to say that any country kind enough to give us Cyndie Allemann is okey doke by me.

2. Simona won four races in Atlantics last year. Not 1, not 2, but FOUR wins, indicating this is no backmarker type of driver here. In the 2009 Atlantics season three drivers each won 4 of the 12 races - Simona, John Edwards (no, not the politician), and Jonathan Summerton. Simona even reached the podium for 8 straight races, so Simona has clearly got some driving skillz.

3. Simona's teammate in Atlatics was Frankie Muiz. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but I mention that for the "Malcolm In the Middle" fans in the audience.

4. Simona's lap times at Barber last week bested Jay Howard, Rafa Matos and...wait...hold on...yes, Danica Patrick. It's true, Simona bested Danica in terms of a best lap time. I'm trying to resist the natural inclination for comparisons here based on gender, especially since Danica has been spending a lot of time this winter driving much slower cars. But at the very least it shows Simona won't be an embarrassement on road and street courses despite being a rookie.

Then again, in the immortal words of Allen Iverson, we talkin' about PRACTICE.

5. Simona has never raced on an oval. The good news for Simona is that the first four races in 2010 are not ovals, so she has time to get familiar with here Dallara and perhaps even squeeze some practice in elsewhere. The bad news is she's in an HVM car, which means just finishing on the lead lap will be a struggle. At least she'll get to have some fun racing back there with Sarah Fisher, Jay Howard, Mario Romancini and a few others...not that we're likely to see much of that racing during broadcasts.

For more on Simona check out Simona's Women of Pressdog feature from a few months ago.


  1. Ryan // March 02, 2010 12:43 PM  

    She actually had a legitimate shot at winning the overall title (in the Atlantic Championship) heading into the final weekend.

    Simona De Silvestro vs. Markus Niemela at Laguna Seca

    I'm truly glad to see her make the jump to IndyCar in 2010. If you're not familiar with her now, you will be soon.

  2. Open Wheel America // March 02, 2010 1:02 PM  

    Simona will be a better driver than Danica if she gets half a chance. Count on it. Danica never won an Atlantic race... Simona won five over the past two years. The only obstacle her is whether or not HVM can give her a car worth anything. Even if they don't, if she can get lucky I'm sure somebody will be willing to pony up some more cash. Let's hope so... Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment (developers of Stargate Worlds) went bankrupt in February.

  3. tbrunn // March 02, 2010 1:19 PM  

    A year ago My Name Is IRL put forth the Milka Standard ( Now it's time for the "G-IRL Standard": if any woman in the IRL finishes higher than Danica it's gonna be HUGE!!

    I love Sarah but I'm betting on Simona to be the first!

  4. Declan // March 02, 2010 2:31 PM  

    She was the 'Woman of the Year' as voted by the listeners of 'Midweek Motorsport'. She seems to have caught the imagination of many fans because of her ability on the track and the lack of 'extra-curriculars' off it. She seems to be seen as a racer first and a female a distant second.

    Her lack of ego is very refreshing too. Shane Seneviratne and the SGW guys are a very good bunch and her coach, Bob Perona, will be a tremendous influece on her.

    I think we'll see very good things from on the road courses later on in the season.

    I do think the whole 'female rivalry' thing is a load of old bollocks and should be left to media who can't be bothered to look beyond it.


  5. Edward // March 02, 2010 7:13 PM  

    I totally agree with you, Declan. I personally don't have a problem with the extra curricular activities as long as 1.The focus is on the day job, so to speak. 2. The driver isn't promoted as God's Sister, which leads to your last paragraph which I ESPECIALLY agree with.