Simona de Silvestro may get a chance to find out what she can accomplish in a race car with better equipment.
KV Racing Technology said Tuesday it had signed the 24-year-old Swiss driver and will have a two-car operation with Tony Kanaan It will be the first time de Silvestro will have a teammate in IndyCar, where she has spent the last three seasons driving for single-car team HVM Racing.
“I think it’s going to be great having Tony as a teammate,” she said. “It’s never easy to make a change like this, but I’m confident that it’s the right move for me going forward.”
She will drive the No. 78 next season with sponsorship from the Nuclear Clean Air Energy campaign, and got her first laps in the car Monday during a test at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
Her move to KV Racing gives de Silvestro a Chevrolet engine next season after she labored through 2012 with an underpowered Lotus driving for Keith Wiggins at HVM. The engine situation handcuffed the team all season, and de Silvestro only completed 45 percent of the laps.
“I do want to thank Keith and HVM Racing for helping me gain a ton of experience these last three years,” she said. “Even though we struggled last year with our engine, I learned a lot. Now it’s time to move on and look forward to next season.”
KV Racing also announced that Imran Safiulla had joined as a team principal. Safiulla has supported de Silvestro’s racing since 2006, and joins an ownership group that includes Kevin Kalkhoven and former champion Jimmy Vasser.
“We are delighted to announce Simona to KV,” said Vasser. “She has shown a lot of determination and to now be able to work with someone as experienced as Kanaan will be a huge asset for her.”
KV expects to test with de Silvestro at Texas and Sebring before the end of the year.
The team is trying to rebound from a disappointing 2012 in which it failed to live up to expectations after signing former Formula One star Rubens Barrichello during the offseason.
Kanaan had three podium finishes all season, although one was a third-place finish in the Indianapolis 500, and Barrichello had a season-high finish of fourth at Sonoma. Neither Barrichello or E.J. Viso are returning to the team next season, and there had been speculation that KV Racing would be a one-car organization in 2013.
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