de Silvestro feeling positive after first F1 test

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After completing her first Formula 1 test yesterday, Simona de Silvestro has spoken of her happiness with her performance ahead of the second day of running at Fiorano.

The former IndyCar driver joined Sauber at the beginning of the season with the target of completing enough testing during 2014 so that she could line up on the grid for the Swiss team next year. As part of this, she was given a test at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track yesterday, and enjoyed every second of it.

“Although it’s something very special to drive a Formula 1 car, I was not too nervous in the morning,” de Silvestro explained. “I was more focused on what my job would be.

“But, after completing the installation lap, I realised that this was my first lap in a Formula 1 car, and that this was something really special.

“What impressed me most was the downforce of the car and the braking. When I did my first lap the brakes were cold, but even then the deceleration was beyond what I had experienced before. The G-forces are significantly higher compared to what I was used to in IndyCar.”

de Silvestro is now hoping to build on this good start today as her test running continues in the Sauber 2012 car, the C31.

“Overall, I’m happy with my first day in a Formula 1 car,” she said. “Physically I feel quite good, which is definitely a result of my preparation in recent months. I have been training really hard and this paid off. I can’t wait to get into the car again tomorrow. The feeling you get driving a Formula 1 car is just awesome!”

Sauber test engineer Paul Russell was also delighted with her performance.

“Simona did a very solid job today,” he said. “It was immediately clear that she is an experienced driver. It was as good a start in a Formula 1 car as you could hope for, and you couldn’t really ask for more today.”

The Callaway Corvette GT3 is coming to America, in PWC

Photo: Callaway Competition USA
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Pirelli World Challenge has been in need of some good news from a car count standpoint early into this offseason, and receives it Monday with confirmation Callaway Competition will bring its GT3-spec homologated Corvette C7 GT3-R Stateside next season.

The withdrawal of the factory Cadillac Racing program after PWC’s season finale in Sonoma in September has opened the door for the factory-blessed Corvette C7 GT3-R to run in North America, because Cadillac’s ATS-V.R has been the lone GT3-spec car under the General Motors awning for the last three seasons, while the Callaway Corvette has raced only internationally.

Reeves Callaway has been on site at the tail end of the PWC season to survey the opportunity and now a deal has been struck for a factory effort to run next year, before the Callaway Corvette program becomes a customer effort in 2019. This follows the same timeline as Acura did with its new NSX GT3 this year to run it as a factory program in 2017 before shifting to customer efforts in 2018.

“Joining the Pirelli World Challenge has been a long term objective for Callaway Competition,” Callaway said in a release. “Now the field is a roll-call of the most capable sports cars from every country. To do well here, you must beat the best in the world. What better way to showcase our iconic American car?

“For 2018, we will run a Callaway factory team to give us the best chance of continuing the championship record the Corvette has achieved in international competition. For 2019, we will not race against our customers, but provide high-quality support to them in the tradition of other manufacturer customer racing support programs.”

“For several years fans have asked when they would see the Callaway Corvette GT3 run in the Pirelli World Challenge,” added Greg Gill, President and CEO of Pirelli World Challenge. “The wait is over and we are very pleased to announce the arrival of the Callaway Corvette GT3 for the 2018 season.”

The Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R will be unveiled and both full season drivers announced at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis on December 7 at the Pirelli World Challenge booth. Following the unveiling event, the car will be on display for the remainder of the trade show. Details of the presentation will be announced in the coming weeks.

Callaway’s confirmation comes amidst the likely drawdown of potentially nine or 10 cars that raced in PWC’s GT and GTA ranks either all season or most of it in 2017, among at least five manufacturers. That’s not to say those losses can’t be recouped elsewhere on the grid, over the next several months before the St. Petersburg season opener in March.

PWC will hold its annual state of the series and competitor meeting to finalize the next year’s plans at the PRI show as well.