De Silvestro closing in on Supercars team decision

Simona de Silvestro is closing in on a decision as to which Supercars team she will race for full-time in 2017, with Nissan Motorsport and Prodrive Racing Australia now the two firm favourites for her services.

De Silvestro closing in on Supercars team decision
Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie, Harvey Norman Supergirls Nissan
Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie, Harvey Norman Supergirls Nissan
Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie, Harvey Norman Supergirls Nissan
Simona de Silvestro, Harvey Norman Supergirls Nissan
Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie, Harvey Norman Supergirls Nissan
Simona de Silvestro, Nissan Motorsports
Simona de Silvestro
Renee Gracie and Simona de Silvestro, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Renee Gracie and Simona de Silvestro, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie, Harvey Norman Supergirls Nissan

On the back of finishing a creditable 14th alongside Renee Gracie at last Sunday’s Bathurst 1000, the Swiss driver must now decide which team she will link up with for her full-time campaign that begins next season.

It would seem that the two teams that she has now raced for at Bathurst – Nissan Motorsport and Prodrive Racing Australia – are the frontrunners for her services. De Silvestro is familiar with both outfits, and both run four-car operations.

That means they could accomodate de Silvestro, Nissan in the fourth entry currently occupied by Dale Wood, and Prodrive with the Super Black Racing licence which has recently been bought by PRA part owner Rusty French.

Both teams are very coy on their chances of securing de Silvestro’s services, however. Despite Nissan Motorsport largely understood to be the standout favourite for her signature, the team’s General Manager Nick Ryan made it clear to Motorsport.com that there were no chickens being counted just yet.

“From our side, we know that Simona has signed a deal to be here [in Supercars] for the next three years, and we know that a number of teams have held discussions [about her future],” he said.

“We’ve naturally been a part of those discussions, and as we understand, that is an ongoing process and there will be further discussions.

“Now that we’ve finalised the arrangement with Nissan, we need to start the process of finalising our driver line-up for next season. We’d be doing Nissan a disservice if we didn’t look at all the available options and talk to all of the available drivers. Obviously Simona is one of those available drivers.”

The situation is slightly less clear at Prodrive Racing, with exact plans over what will happen with the Super Black licence not yet known. It could be kept in its current guise as a New Zealand-branded team, it could be used to bring PRA protégé Jack Le Brocq into the main game, or it could be used to run de Silvestro – something boss Tim Edwards wouldn’t rule out.

“There are a lot of players involved in what happens with Simona, including Supercars, sponsors, Simona, her management… There’s a lot of interest in what happens with Simona next year,” he told Motorsport.com.

“Of course we’re an interested party, but there are a lot of people who are interested. Everybody is following it. There’s a lot to play out.

“Naturally everyone is going to draw the conclusion that we’re in the game, purely because we’ve got a pre-existing relationship. We ran here [at Bathurst] last year, we got on really well with her, and she got on really well with us.

“But we’ve got out own internal machinations of what happens with Super Black and all those sorts of things. There are a lot of moving parts.”

The decision will ultimately fall to de Silvestro and her management. While there is no timeline in place, she told Motorsport.com that a final call will be made sooner rather than later.

“The sooner the better, because I’m realising how tough it’s going to be, and how much work I have to put in,” she said.

“You know, you want to get it sorted as soon as possible to start organising that. I’m also moving from Switzerland, so there’s a lot of things to consider right now.

“The faster we can sort it, the better.”

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