De Silvestro boosted by belief shown by Andretti ahead of Formula E debut

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LONDON – The last 18 months have been rather turbulent for Simona de Silvestro. After walking away from IndyCar at the end of the 2013 season to pursue a drive in Formula 1 with Sauber, the Swiss driver found herself back at square one when her financial support fell through.

However, the recent months have seen de Silvestro’s fortunes turn around as she has joined the Andretti Autosport family, taking part in three races of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season including the Indianapolis 500.

This weekend brings a great change of scenery for the 26-year-old, though, as she prepares to make her debut in the FIA Formula E series at the championship’s season finale.

“I think it’ll be fun,” de Silvestro told MotorSportsTalk. “It’s definitely way different to anything I’ve done before.

“Having two races is kind of nice because I think after Saturday we’ll know what it’s going to be like and have learned a lot. The track looks fun and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The street circuit erected around Battersea Park in the heart of London has imposing walls and narrow sections, and could catch a number of drivers out across the course of the weekend.

However, de Silvestro hopes that her street course experience from IndyCar will come in handy this weekend as she gets to grips with the electric-powered cars.

“IndyCar is mostly street courses,” she said. “I think when you’re used it a little bit more it can help you. The biggest thing to be fast is really understanding the race car.

“And I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge for me compared to the other people because everybody has driven at least once this year. Just learning how to drive the car and how everything is. I think that’s going to be the most difficult part of the weekend.”

De Silvestro is one of five rookie drivers racing in Formula E this weekend, after being given the nod by Andretti just two weeks ago as part of her ongoing role with the team.

She explained how the team’s confidence in her has been a big boost, and that the security offered is something that racing drivers crave.

“I was really lucky to be part of the Andretti family, having done the three races with Michael in IndyCar, and then got the call pretty much two weeks ago asking if I wanted to do this race,” de Silvestro said.

“I think it’s great when you’re in a team like Andretti. They really believe in their drivers and really try to help them, and I think that’s really special from a team point of view.

“It’s really difficult in racing to just be somewhere kind of steady, and so far Andretti has been able to do this for me, so it’s a really special feeling.”

Looking ahead, de Silvestro admitted that she is unsure when she will be next racing, but that she is open to any opportunities that may come her way in either IndyCar or Formula E.

“I don’t know yet, I think things are open,” she said when asked by MST about future opportunities. “That’s the thing, there’s always something that can open up, and you just have to be ready for it, like this weekend.

“For sure, I really want to be racing and I want to be in a race car, and I think we are working hard to do this.”

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”