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Simona De Silvestro signs Supercars deal

AAP logoAAP 6/09/2016

Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie at the 2015 Bathurst 1000. © AAP Image/Edge Photographics Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie at the 2015 Bathurst 1000. Simona de Silvestro is set to become the first full-time female driver in Supercars in more than four decades after signing a three-year deal with organisers beginning in 2017.

The 28-year-old Swiss driver debuted in the category as a wildcard at last year's Bathurst 1000, and is set to return to Mount Panorama alongside Renee Gracie again next month with Nissan.

"It was such an incredible experience and I knew this could be a goal for the future," the former IndyCar and Formula E driver said today.

"This is going to be my first full-time year with a closed top car and there a lot of new things for me to learn and adapt to."

De Silvestro is yet to be linked to a team for next season, but Nissan appear to be the frontrunners.

Supercars facilitated the deal, having helped secure sponsorship funding.

De Silvestro finished 13th in the 2013 Indycar Series, and won four races in the 2009 Atlantic Championship to finish third overall.

She was also an affiliated driver with the Sauber Formula One team in 2014, and finished 40 laps off the pace at last year's Bathurst after she and Gracie returned to the track following an early crash.

"I am very respectful towards this new challenge but at the same time I am very excited about driving in such a competitive championship," she said.

"I can't wait to jump in the car to work towards getting the most out of these cars."

Supercars chief executive James Warburton said it had always been a goal for the sport to attract a full-time female driver.

"This is an exciting announcement for the sport and a major coup for Supercars," Warburton said.

"Along with Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher she is one of only three female drivers to have stood on the podium in IndyCar and she will be a brilliant addition to Supercars."

Christine Gibson was the last full-time female driver in the series, ending her touring cars career in 1975.

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