Sonoma, CA - The Swiss driver of the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car, Simona De Silvestro, drove a mistake-free race moving up 10 spots from her starting position of 27th to finish 17th in Sunday's GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. The 85-lap race was past the mid-way point before the first yellow flag of the day.
While De Silvestro was happy with the result, she would have liked to have done even better. "I guess P-17 is okay," she said, "I think it was all we could get. We're still getting passed like we're standing still on the straightaways, but, I think it was a good weekend. We kept our head in it during the race and toward the end the yellows starting coming out. That really helped us with our fuel mileage. It was a good race."
The Lotus HVM Racing team did their part with good pit stops and a race strategy that worked perfectly. Team engineers were forced into a very tight three-stop strategy due to the fact that we get a significantly lower fuel mileage in comparison to the other competitors.
Keith Wiggins, team owner, felt the team got the most out of the car today. The team did a good job," he said. "Simona drove a good solid race, so we were able to make the best of it. Our windows were tight on fuel, but we managed to keep it within the three, so that was good. It was a good result for the circumstances we had. We don't want to get too excited about 17th, but I think it was the best result we could get today with what we had."
The team hosted guests from Entergy, GE Hitachi and AREVA this weekend. Everyone had a great time and was excited with the final race results.
Team manager, Shane Seneviratne, was pleased with the team's work. "It was a good race," he said. "Simona drove well. The crew did very consistent pit work. There was a little bit of racing toward the end. Simona got to do some dicing, so I'm happy for the sponsors. We had a good result."
After the long yellow for the Bourdais / Newgarden crash, the field was separated so that cars on the lead lap were together and those that were one lap done were together allowing everyone a chance to race for position with the cars around them. De Silvestro was able to move past Ed Carpenter who was a position ahead of her, but who had not been running directly in front of her at the time of the yellow.
Tom Brown, team technical director, liked the league's decision. "She (De Silvestro) ran well," he said. "She maximized what was given to her. The guys did good stops; we've been working hard on that. We saw massive improvement this weekend. When they all bunched up it gave us a chance to race and we took it to them. I think we may have surprised some people. It was a good race."
Source: HVM Racing