INDIANAPOLIS — Paretta Autosport is back. Well, they’ve never fully left. It’s just the fact that they’ve wanted to become a larger presence in the INDYCAR paddock but in a day and age where finding quality good people who want to work is difficult to come by, they’ve struggled to progress this vision off the ground.
While the Indianapolis 500 for a second straight year isn’t on the docket now, it won’t stop them from racing in the NTT INDYCAR Series still during the 2022 season. Team Principal Beth Paretta, announced on a sunny afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that Paretta Autosport will return to the NTT INDYCAR Series campaign in multiple races this season.
Fan-favorite Simona De Silvestro will return to Paretta Autosport in the No. 16 car. The Swiss driver has had success in multiple racing series, and has fourteen top-10 and three top-five career INDYCAR finishes to go along with her second-place finish at Houston in 2013. De Silvestro knows she has what it takes to be competitive in the Series and is grateful for the opportunity and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“Yeah, really looking forward to these opportunities,” deSilvestro said. “Something we started last year.
This time though, they’ll focus road and street courses. This will be the new focus of the 2022 Paretta Autosport campaign. While Beth Paretta and Simona De Silvestro will be in attendance at the 2022 Indianapolis 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix, the team will make their 2022 racing debut at the historic Road America circuit on June 12, 2022. The team is also confirmed to compete at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 3, 2022 and the streets of Nashville on August 7, 2022. Additional races may be added as schedules permit.
“Personally I think it’s amazing the places we’re going back to,” said deSilvestro. “They’re tracks that I’ve been quite quick in the past. From that point of view, yeah, I’m super motivated. I think we can really push each other. Yeah, I think Mid-Ohio is a place that I’ve been pretty fast, so I look forward to it. I think it’s really an important step for us to grow this team and get it in the right direction.”
They’ll also do so with a new team sponsor, KiwiCo, as the official STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, art, math) learning company that develops engaging hands-on projects and activities to spark children’s curiosity and creativity. The company’s on a mission to inspire the next generation of innovators with the skills and confidence to become creative problem solvers and critical thinkers – traits necessary for motorsport careers. KiwiCo and Paretta Autosport will collaborate throughout their partnership to highlight STEAM learning and connect on-track activities to off-track learning opportunities. As a special treat for INDYCAR fans, go to KiwiCo.com and use promo code: INDYCAR2022 for special pricing.
The University of South Carolina also returns as an associate sponsor for their second season with the NTT INDYCAR team. Providing single tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students, the University of South Carolina is ensuring that higher education is accessible to more students. Sharing similar missions, Paretta Autosport and The University of South Carolina continue their multi-year marketing partnership with a focus on skills-based learning and look to expand on the success they shared in 2021.
Team, driver and sponsor lined up. Now, they just need a car and an engine. That’s now lined up too.
Along with the KiwiCo and Chevrolet partnerships, Paretta has entered into a new technical partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing. Three-time Indy 500 Pole-sitter and team owner Ed Carpenter will supply a car and several crew members to augment the returning members of last year’s Indy 500 Paretta Autosport team. Ed Carpenter Racing brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the partnership. The team has proven to be strong competitors since first entering the NTT INDYCAR Series in 2012 and their efforts are expected to help ensure the success of the Paretta Autosport entry.
“We’re really hoping to grow with Ed Carpenter Racing. It’s definitely the way to go to achieve, to have a full-time seat,” deSilvestro continued.
In 2021 Paretta Autosport became the first woman-owned, woman-driven, women-forward team in INDYCAR series history when the team successfully qualified for and ran in the Indianapolis 500-Mile race. Most of the women who participated with the team in 2021 will return for the 2022 season as the team continues to actively promote diversity within the sport of racing.
Building on the momentum of 2021, the team has reached an agreement to renew their commitment to Chevrolet as their engine provider of choice. GM’s focus on fostering a culture of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion align with the mission of the team on multiple levels, while Chevrolet’s accomplishments throughout its INDYCAR racing history, with nearly 100 INDYCAR wins and over 100 INDYCAR poles, have proven that the manufacturer has a competitive advantage within the sport; an advantage that Paretta Autosport expects to utilize to the fullest as they strive to reach the winners circle this season.
As far as how this came about? Why ECR? Why now? Why not Indy again? Well, it all started in August. She said they waited to come down from the Indy 500 high before working on 2022.
“So I’ve been working on it probably since like August 1st of last year,” Paretta said. “Took a little bit of time after the 500 ended. A lot of things to do. Said, Okay, what about next year?”
Paretta, said that she looked at a few things but while the Indy 500 was always No. 1, she didn’t just want to single out Indy only either. Her goal was obviously to bring a female run team to Indianapolis, but her other goal was to become a full fledged NTT INDYCAR Series operation too. She didn’t want to risk her future in the sport but going all in on Indy only.
“My intention was always 500 plus. If we were going to do the 500, it was not just the 500,” she continued.
The thing was, how could she make this work. She didn’t have the 2021 Indy 500 car anymore. Paretta acknowledged that the car was rented from Juncos and their original intention was to use it for more races last Fall. However, Juncos’ plans also changed and that forced them to need their car back.
Juncos had backing from Hollinger and formed a team. They would run the final 3 races of 2021 and all of them in 2022. By doing so, they had to have a car and the car went from the track at Indy to grass in Belle Isle to be put on display.
Paretta, had to give it back.
On top of that, the deal with Penske was a one-off. She knew moving forward that the arrangement wasn’t going to be the same.
“I knew that my arrangement I had with Team Penske was not going to be the same, which Roger and I, we’ve talked about that from the beginning,” she said. “It was all rented, some of it borrowed.
“The car we ran last year, put this to rest, the car we ran last year was from Juncos. When we intended to do the 500 and a few more races, Juncos’ plans changed where they wanted to run the car later in the year. So as soon as the race was over, literally I think about a week after, I think I still had it. It was on display at the Detroit Grand Prix from the race. Then it went right back. When you saw that car later in the year that Juncos was running, that was what was the 16 car.
“No, everything else was either leased from Juncos or borrowed from Team Penske.”
So, how to move forward. The resources for the crew was now being used elsewhere. Penske was starting a sport car team and needed them there. Juncos, needed their car. Paretta, had a dream but with a limited workforce and no car at their disposal, where do they go.
It led back to Ed Carpenter.
“In talking to Ed, obviously knowing where is the constraint? We know there’s some challenges with how many people are available, how many cars are available,” said Paretta.
“I said, Okay, let’s look at an alternate way to do this. Honestly, it was a conversation with some of the folks at Chevrolet. I said, This is what I’m thinking of doing, but I’m not sure what is the best.
“They said, We really think Ed Carpenter would be a great partner for you. We would encourage you to kind of call him back, even we talked a couple months before.
“I said, That’s exactly what I was thinking.
“It kind of validated where I was. Then Ed gratefully answered the phone. That’s how it came to be. It’s been a long time coming. Ed and I talked years ago.
“Everybody knows, there’s so many moving parts to all of these working agreements because there are so many elements. Sometimes you want to work together, but the timing isn’t right. It really all came together that the people, the timing and everything has come together now.”
So, now what? Was Indy still a possibility? ECR was already stretched thin but with Paretta wanting to race outside of Indy too and Carpenter having a 3rd car available on road/street courses, it was a perfect match.
“The people that we worked with last year have been redeployed to a different racing program,” said Paretta. “Literally the people are doing something else. I didn’t have the availability to work with them.
“Because we knew that, we had to figure out what else would be the best fit for us. Again, it comes down to if Ed is going to be running three cars at the 500, it wasn’t as appealing for us to be a fourth car for Ed’s system because, again, it’s about that pragmatic growth.
“If we’re sitting across the table crafting this together, there’s two things at play here: it’s a smart competition decision and business decision. Both of those things are weighed equally, especially if you’re in Ed’s or my chair.
“The decision was they’re going to do the three cars for the 500, but this allows us to have room to do these races later in the year. I’ve known that answer for months.
“Listen, I have had people approach me in the past two months asking me to reconsider the 500. I will say that I said, I will think about this, let’s talk about this. But I was unwilling to not do the road and street courses that we were planning to do. This for me was not an either/or, it had to be an and. It just wasn’t a good fit.
“To me, what we’re doing is growth for my team. It’s getting women and Simona to new places. If our intention is to be a full-time team, this is a better investment in us.”
Yes it is. We’ll have 2 females in those races and the door is back swung wide open for females to come to this great sport.