Detroit, MI (Sunday, June 03, 2012) - Starting at the back of the field, due to an engine change penalty, the Lotus HVM #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car and driver Simona De Silvestro had their work cut out for them at today's Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix.
After struggling with engine issues for the first five races of the season, today's finish of 13th was a welcome outcome for the team. De Silvestro drove a strong consistent race, finishing 12 spots higher than her starting position.
"I think we can be pretty happy because we finished the race," De Silvestro said, "and the guys worked really hard the whole weekend to get the car turned around. We had a really strong race car; we just have to work on the engine side. It's still not where we want it to be. I hope we'll get some updates for the next couple of races. I think if we were where the other engines are we'd be running in the top 10 easily and maybe even going for top fives. That's the frustrating part of it, but we're going to keep working hard at it."
Strategy and good driving were the keys to the team's great finish. The team engineers called for an early pit stop on lap 11 setting the stage for De Silvestro's race forward. De Silvestro ran as high as 11th and was running 13th when the team completed their second pit stop of the day on lap 37.
De Silvestro was running 16th when the race was red flagged on lap 45 due to issues with the track. After a lengthy delay, the race resumed around 6:45 p.m. On-track incidents brought out a couple of yellow flags in the final 15 laps giving De Silvestro the opportunity to move back up to 13th before the race was called on lap 60.
Team owner, Keith Wiggins was pleased with the team's performance. "It was hard work for a 13th place finish," he said, "but on the good side, the crew did a really good job on the strategy even though we had less fuel consumption than the other guys. Simona drove a really great intelligent race. The reliability was better so that's a step forward and if we can get a bit more horsepower then we'll be looking good."
Shane Seneviratne, team manager was excited about the final result. "Finally we got a good race under our belt," he said. "Simona did a great job, the crew did a great job and we had a really good car. Lotus has stepped up a little bit, so thanks to everyone involved. We're looking forward to moving this program forward."