9/16/2020

The Woman with the Secret Weapon

For me, driving a Porsche to its limits is the best feeling ever.

Simona De SilvestroPorsche Factory Driver

Simona De Silvestro is Porsche’s first female factory driver. She applies her expertise to support the Formula E team. Coming from Switzerland, she is versatile, experienced, and now also competes in the GT racing series herself. She wants to make history with Porsche, using her very special “secret weapon”.

Racing for Porsche is everything to her. Every day, she stands in front of the mirror and pinches herself. Whenever she starts the engine, a smile lights up her face. That tingling sensation on the starting line. Then, during the race, a bliss like nothing else she has ever felt. “For me, driving an engine to its limits is the best feeling ever,” says Simona De Silvestro. That’s exactly what she’s been doing for Porsche in the ADAC GT Masters as of this season. She is already making waves with her racing team, “KÜS Team 75 Bernhard”, in the 911 GT3, having placed consistently among the fastest drivers or the main field in the few races to date. “The road is not easy,” she says abour her job as a racing driver, “but if you believe in it and work hard on yourself, doors will always open.” During her exclusive interview for the Porsche Circle, she switches back and forth between German and English. For good reason.

From the best rookie to the GT racing series

At 32 years old, she is one of the fastest female racing drivers in the world, and one of the most experienced. Few of her male colleagues have experienced so much at that age as she has. In fact, the 1.71-meter Swiss driver has made the most of every opportunity that came her way. At 17, she went to the USA to drive in the Atlantic Championship and the Indycar Series. She earned the nickname “Swiss Miss” from the Americans when she was voted best rookie on the famous 500-mile Indianapolis race. A year later, in 2011, she experienced a waking nightmare in that same place: Her car’s suspension collapsed, she crashed into a wall, and her car went up in flames. Simona De Silvestro was lucky and, despite receiving burns to her hands, still managed to qualify the next day. From that moment on, she has been treated with even greater respect, almost as a hero, and known as the “Iron Maiden”. Her greatest success: Two years later, she finishes second in Houston.

Simona De Silvestro has been a member of the Porsche factory team since 2019, supporting the Formula E team as a test and development driver. And now, she is driving in the toughest, coolest GT racing series, as she calls it. After 12 years driving almost exclusively overseas, she is more than happy to compete in Europe again.

A cool head and a warm heart

Simona De Silvestro is held in high esteem in pit lanes all over the world. She is extremely reluctant to talk about her success. That’s all in the past. Her focus is always on the next race. What makes her so fast? She smiles, shrugs her shoulders, and has no answer to the question. Later, in passing, she says: “As a racing driver, I always have the feeling I’m missing out on something. Because I would also like to be driving in another race elsewhere.” Perhaps that’s the answer. Her constant drive and motivation to give it her all. The desire to be driving, all the time and everywhere. That’s what makes her fast. And one more thing: “My secret weapon might be that I sometimes approach things more thoughtfully than the guys do.” A cool head and a warm heart always makes for a successful combination in sport.

Simona De Silvestro has long since entered the history books as the first woman in racing at Porsche. She has come very far, but she wants to go further. Her biggest goal: “I hope to add further chapters to the Porsche success story in the future.”

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