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Driver Simona De Silvestro and her team will be making history at the Indianapolis 500, regardless of where she finishes.
De Silvestro will driving the No. 16 Paretta Autosport Chevrolet, and for the first time in history, four of the seven Paretta over-the-wall pit crew members will be women.
Along with that, two of De Silvestro’s engineers are women, as are her two spotters. In fact, every position in the Paretta Autosport front office is filled by a woman, from business operations to merchandising to marketing to media relations.
But this isn’t to make any sort of point, according to team owner Beth Paretta. She maintains her vision has always been a co-ed racing team.
“It’s important to me that the bigger message is this isn’t women at the expense of men,” Paretta said, via ESPN. “I’m trying to expand the grid.”
Meanwhile, De Silvestro says she’s merely hoping that this type of team isn’t nearly as newsworthy in the future — and that it’s actually a little more common.
“My hope is that in five years, us being a team of mostly women is the least interesting thing about us,” she said.
De Silvestro, 32, and Paretta, 47, are the first woman driver-owner duo to race at the 500. Per ESPN, “Paretta recruited nine women to a pit crew combine in February. The six women who made the cut spent the next three months training two hours a day, four days a week, starting at 4:30 a.m. to accommodate their day jobs.”
The result has already made history off the track. De Silvestro, who sometimes goes by the nickname “Iron Maiden,” will try to add to that with some serious success on it.
The Indianapolis 500 is slated for Sunday at 12:45 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on NBC.