Feb 14, 2014, 3:27 PM EST
With what appeared to be a full lineup at Sauber’s Formula One squad, the news Simona de Silvestro will be joining the team this year as an affiliated driver was a bit of a surprise.
She didn’t seem likely for any of the four remaining full-season IndyCar seats – the second seats at Rahal Letterman Lanigan and Dale Coyne Racing, and the lone seats at Panther Racing or Bryan Herta Autosport.
What made a lot of sense on paper – and something I attempted to project on Twitter last night – was de Silvestro moving ahead with a 2014 sports car program in either the FIA World Endurance Championship or the European Le Mans Series.
Both championships’ entry lists were revealed on Thursday. The timing of her announcement coming today, in Switzerland, on the heels of the presentation in Paris would connect some dots.
It’s served some other ex-open-wheelers, like 2013 Le Mans and WEC LMP2 champs Martin Plowman and Bertrand Baguette for instance, quite well.
Three teams in Rebellion Racing, Newblood by Morand Racing and Race Performance, are Swiss teams confirmed for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Rebellion will compete in the full WEC season with its two new ORECA-designed Rebellion R-One Toyotas in the LMP1-L class; Morand’s Morgan Judd and Race Performance’s ORECA 03 Judd will compete in the ELMS full season in LMP2, and were granted a Le Mans entry in the same class.
There was also Kessel Racing, a Swiss team competing in the GTE class of ELMS with two Ferrari F458 Italias, but without a Le Mans entry for this year.
Because inquiring minds want to know, 9 Sixty Two Media’s Declan Brennan inquired to Rebellion about the potential of de Silvestro racing for the team at Le Mans, and the team responded.
@TheRaceTool With old or current regs Endurance far from F1 on driving side closecockpit weight consumption shared wheel/setup …
— Rebellion Racing (@RebellionRacing) February 14, 2014
@TheRaceTool but the idea is a good one ;-)
— Rebellion Racing (@RebellionRacing) February 14, 2014
Sports car racing is becoming a more popular avenue for drivers to get paid to race if suitable opportunities in single-seaters fail to present themselves.
In any of these teams, de Silvestro would have been committed to a full season of racing, and in three of them, she would have had a shot to race at the most prestigious 24-hour race in the world.
She still could if Sauber is OK with it, now that she’ll be European-based for 2014. It’s an avenue she could explore with great effect.
Three Ferrari F458 Italias are entered in the Le Mans GTE Pro class, and another eight (all 2013-spec or older) are in the GTE Am class.
Where de Silvestro could be hurt is with her FIA driver ranking; as a full-time IndyCar driver, she should be a Platinum-ranked driver, and that would limit her options. The GTE Am class requires at least one Bronze and a second Silver or Bronze-rated driver for two of the three seats.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:07 PM EST
A post-season exit survey provides some very interesting fan data on NASCAR’s latest version of its post-season format.
Nov 25, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
The outgoing crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. also talks about his successor needing to make his own mark.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:45 PM EST
The Delaware family court hearing is a separate matter from the ongoing police investigation into allegations of assault against Busch by his ex-girlfriend.
Nov 25, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
Brian Scott gets a new crew chief for 2015’s XFINITY campaign.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:44 PM EST
It may be Thanksgiving week but NASCAR AMERICA is still on tonight at 5 p.m. ET.
Nov 25, 2014, 4:30 PM EST
The ex-Caterham pilot runs 95 laps in the Sauber C33 at Yas Marina Circuit.
Jay Mohr back to host this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards; Aloe Blacc, Lady Antebellum among performers
Nov 25, 2014, 3:48 PM EST
A star-studded affair to come for NASCAR in Las Vegas.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
Palmer logs only 37 laps for Force India in Abu Dhabi, but places fourth on the time sheets.
Nov 25, 2014, 2:30 PM EST
Caterham not only stays for test, but banks 100-plus laps on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.
Nov 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
Carlos Sainz Jr. has a good day with Red Bull, as he stakes claim for Toro Rosso seat in 2015.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:30 PM EST
Rosberg pounds out 114 laps – the most of any driver – in Day 1 of testing in Abu Dhabi.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
IndyCar’s available pool of talent, as always, is larger than the number of remaining seats.
Nov 25, 2014, 12:30 PM EST
The Ford squad enters this week’s World RX finale down four points in their fight for the team championship.
Nov 25, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
McLaren-Honda gets out, with ideally more to come on Wednesday.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:36 AM EST
One Mercedes team on top, one former Mercedes team gets install laps only.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
Go inside the numbers of this year’s final F1 points standings.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:00 AM EST
GP3 champ to have first F1 run.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:40 AM EST
Ex-Lotus reserve will have his first IndyCar test in December.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:03 PM EST
The two drivers answer the call of the open road.
Nov 24, 2014, 6:26 PM EST
The future NASCAR on NBC analyst talks about how Rick Hendrick and his partnerships with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have impacted his life.
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