Racing executive Beth Paretta is back to take another shot at the Indianapolis 500.
Paretta, former director of SRT Motorsports, announced on Tuesday that newly formed Paretta Autosport has entered a car for the 105th Indianapolis 500. The female-led ownership group plans to have 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro drive the team’s Chevrolet-powered car.
The NTT IndyCar Series effort is aided by a technical partnership with Team Penske, while will provide technical support in assisting in the team’s preparation for the May 30 race.
Paretta Autosport plans to integrate women in the team to ensure that it provides opportunities, including competition, operations and administrative roles such as logistics, marketing and public relations.
“Today is the beginning of a commitment to gender equity in sport, to encourage women to work hard so they can earn their seat at the table or spot on the grid,” Paretta Autosport team principal Paretta said. “IndyCar has been a leader and a welcoming place for women for many years because of the hard work of many women and men before us, but now we have a stronger commitment with IndyCar’s ‘Race for Equality & Change’ to make sure opportunities continue in the future.
“Our team, along with our technical alliance with Team Penske, will work hard to give Simona the best car we can provide so she can achieve her best results. Competition drives us. The Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world, and one day soon we hope to have a woman’s face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.”
Silvestro, 32, has started five Indianapolis 500s, most recently in 2015 when she finished 19th in an Andretti Autosport entry.
This is not Paretta’s first try at fielding a car in the 500. In 2016, she headed Grace Autosports, which planned to face at Indy with driver Katherine Legge. The team announced in 2015 an Indy 500 effort for 2016, but ultimately was not able to obtain a car the team felt was capable of qualifying for the 500.
Paretta has a long history as an automotive and motorsports executive in leadership roles, including SRT (Street and Racing Technology) at FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), where she was the first female director to lead a performance brand and motorsports for an original equipment manufacturer. In that role, she led successful racing programs that earned three national championships: the NASCAR Cup Series championship for Dodge with Team Penske in 2012, the IMSA GTLM championship with the factory Viper GTS-R program in 2014, and the Trans Am championship with the Dodge Challenger TA2 in 2014. She is also a board member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
“We are pleased to welcome Beth and her Paretta Autosport team to IndyCar this year,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “Her team’s addition to the IndyCar ‘Race for Equality & Change’ program this year will ensure that IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 continues the legacy of having a female driver qualify for the 2021 Indy 500. Of course, it will be up to Simona and the team to qualify the car for the grid, but knowing Beth, I know that her team will be up for the task.”
De Silvestro has been a factory driver for Porsche since 2019.
“I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity to return to Indianapolis and the Indy 500 with Paretta Autosport this year,” De Silvestro said. “My career really took off through my time competing in IndyCar and the Indy 500, so returning to compete with Beth and her new team in alliance with Team Penske is a special and rare chance in my career.
“Being part of the goal of diversity and inclusion for everyone, and especially women in IndyCar, and in motorsports in general, is very important to me and how I would like to see the future of racing. I want to thank the IndyCar Series for taking such an important leadership role in providing gender and overall diversity inclusion in motorsports.”
Will this be the year that Beth Paretta lands a car on the grid of the Indianapolis 500? Join in the IndyCar discussion in the comments section below.
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