Paretta Autosport, Majority-Women Team, Qualifies For Indianapolis 500

May 24, 2021

Driver Simona de Silvestro hugs one of her Paretta Autosport teammates after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.
Credit Samantha Horton/IPB News

The majority women’s team Paretta Autosport will make history racing in this year’s Indianapolis 500. The rookie team fought it out Sunday to secure the final position in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The team didn’t get the results it hoped for during the first day time trials, but Paretta Autosport driver Simona de Silvestro gave it her all on the track to get her team into the Indy 500.

Five teams competed for three spots. Less than a second separated the three cars to make the final row.

“As our laps developed and our first lap went out and it wasn't what we needed to be 30th or 31st, but it was what we needed to be 33rd it was like, OK,” said Lauren Sullivan, one of the team’s engineers. 

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Sullivan described the time waiting to see if the team would qualify as no moment to relax.

“It was competitive for the spot we're in, but it was by no means a guarantee and just kind of biting our lip and then watching the other two cars go. And as things develop, you get a kind of sense of certainty, but if racing's taught me anything, it is nothing is for certain until that buzzer is zero or that checkered flag waves.”

Standing in pit row shortly after qualifying, Sullivan said it was still hard to grasp her team would be competing in the Indy 500.

“So far, we have done what we came here to do,” she said. “And now, it's we work even harder, so that we finish better than we started in the race come next Sunday. Definitely a huge weight lifted, breathing a little easier. So it's a moment of celebration, but by the time we get back to the garage, head down, back to work.”

Sullivan said she’s excited to be a part of the women-forward team and is amazed at the impact it’s having already.

“So we're very aware of our role,” she said. “We're very aware of the eyes that are on us. And that we have a much different objective than most other teams off the track. But we love it. It's what we're here to do.”

The green flag is set to drop for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 next weekend, Sunday, May 30.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.