Jackson, Miss. – Entergy Nuclear started its first full season sponsorship of the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car driven by Simona De Silvestro at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida this past weekend. The nuclear emergency in Japan cast a particular spotlight on the message of the car.
As Entergy Chief Nuclear Officer John Herron watched the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car circle the road course around downtown St. Petersburg, he said, “There will be lessons learned from the tragic event in Japan. Incorporating those into our operations is a hallmark of the global nuclear industry. In the U.S., we have the toughest standards in the world, and we want to assure our communities that our plants are safe along with being a clean source of electricity.”
In the 25-car field, having a message on the side of a car is a new phenomenon for the IZOD INDYCAR Series that usually sports retail and automotive products. “Through history we have seen how sport transcends social barrier – whether race or gender or other – and can lead the way for new thinking. We believe we are doing this with the Nuclear Clean Air Energy message on our car,” stated Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing team owner. HVM is based in Indianapolis and Wiggins is a racing veteran team owner since 1984.
Driver Takuma Sato, sponsored by Panasonic, replaced his sponsor logo with a map and a message for Japan, his home country. He placed fifth.
De Silvestro also had a top five finish. She drove the first portion of the race in second place behind Dario Franchitti, the winner on Sunday. Finishing fourth, she demonstrated that she belongs in the lead pack of the best drivers in the world.
“I got questioned about Japan over the weekend but mostly about my new car, new chief engineer and my new sponsor, Entergy. I couldn’t be more proud to represent Entergy and this industry since I am a personal advocate for clean and safe nuclear power,” noted De Silvestro after her successful sponsor debut on Sunday. “I have been inside a nuclear power plant and seen first-hand the security and precision of operations at Entergy’s Grand Gulf Nuclear Station. I’ve been very happy to talk about that,” she concluded.
De Silvestro led a class tour for the Bishop Hall Charter School of Thomasville, Ga., of the paddock which is the temporary garage area set up for race teams. Students received a brief on electricity, nuclear power and had a few questions about Japan answered by Entergy staff. The principal, teachers and students were appreciative of the opportunity and the chance to ask questions about nuclear energy before hearing more from the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, De Silvestro, about her car.
Herron added, “For many years, we have been sharing with the public all of nuclear energy’s benefits – safe, clean and vital to U.S. energy independence. Now, the public is asking questions, and we can start real conversations. This is our teachable moment. Even while we watch with great compassion as the people in Japan battle this extraordinary situation, Entergy is moving forward to better inform Americans about safe electricity production that meets their appetite for power.”
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
March 27, 2011 – St. Petersburg, FL – Simona de Silvestro started her sophomore season with an exciting run and an amazing fourth place finish in the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
De Silvestro – the 2010 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year – set out to prove that she’s got the talent to run at the front of the field.
“I’m really happy,” she said. “I never would have thought, after starting seventeenth, that we’d finish fourth, and we were running second for quite awhile there.
About her team, de Silvestro added, “I’m happy to be working with Brent Harvey because he’s really calm on the radio, which I liked. The team also did an unbelievable job. We had a few new issues to overcome in the beginning of the weekend, but during the race, everything went according to plan. They did great pit stops and I’m really proud to be part of this team.”
In addition to her talent, Simona may have had one additional good luck charm: a large group of executives from Entergy (her sponsor) and the Nuclear Clean Air Energy campaign.
“Having all the Entergy people here is just unbelievable,” she said. “They have to come to more races now!”
In two weeks, the IZOD IndyCar Series moves on to Barber Motorsports Park, where de Silvestro will again compete for a top spot.
St. Petersburg, FL – March 26, 2011 – Simona de Silvestro is ready to kick off her sophomore season in the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car as she competes in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.
After three practice sessions – taking place on Friday and Saturday – de Silvestro stayed focused through a few engineering revisions.
“We struggled in the first session,” she said, but was happier with the second. “We improved the car a little bit and everything is going great with my new engineer. We’re starting to understand each other – I think it’s clicked a little more this time.”
After Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session, de Silvestro was cautiously optimistic.
“I think we could have had a better run, but we caught a lot of traffic during the time we were having a good lap. It’s kind of a shame because I think we’re really pushing it and we could have gotten into the Fast Six. It is what it is, but we’ll make it happen tomorrow during the race.”
De Silvestro will start 17th in the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a 1.8-mile street course race, airing on ABC at 12:30 p.m. ET.
The HVM Racing shop is buzzing with anticipation for the 2011 season! We’ve got a lot to be excited about – a new sponsor, new car the same awesome (and don’t forget fun!) driver, Simona de Silvestro! To kick off what will surely be a memorable season, we’ve decided to have some fun with our fans on twitter.
Behold… and we hope you join the fun!
(Starts Monday, March 28) – Let’s face it. Mondays can be a drag, especially after an exciting race weekend. Let us pick you up with some fun stuff from HVM Racing! We’ll have contests, trivia and fun to start your week on the right track!
(Starts Tuesday, March 29) – Submit your questions for our crew members! Each week, we’ll ask the appropriate crew member to answer your inquiries. Ask about the car, engineering, even driving the transporter. What do you want to know?
(Starts Wednesday, March 30) – The main goal of the Nuclear Clean Air Energy campaign is to spread the message! We’ll give you new and exciting information about nuclear energy, the future and careers in this exciting industry!
(Starts Thursday, March 31) – Have you ever been to a race shop? We’ll be giving you the virtual tour with photos, video and plenty of behind-the-scenes fun!
(Starts Friday, April 1) – Submit your questions for Simona! Each week, we’ll ask Simona to answer your inquiries. Ask about driving, traveling or even her favorite things. What don’t YOU know about the Swiss Miss?
Please try to keep your questions to a max of 140 characters. We’ll answer as many as possible! Plus, make sure to tell your friends to follow us on twitter so they can be part of the fun, too! Thanks and here’s to a great 2011 season with Simona de Silvestro, Entergy and HVM Racing!
Indianapolis, IN – March 14, 2011 – No longer a rookie, Simona de Silvestro had two successful tests in preparation for the 2011 season with HVM Racing.
De Silvestro enters her sophomore season with a positive outlook, a new title sponsor and a new car. Entergy Nuclear has partnered with HVM Racing in a multi-year agreement aimed at raising awareness about Nuclear Clean Air Energy and the career opportunities within the industry.
The #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car had its maiden ‘shake down’ run and completed almost 200 miles during the first test at Texas Motor Speedway. De Silvestro’s crew worked cohesively, making the appropriate changes, and at the end of the day, the team was faster than their 2010 qualifying time at Texas Motor Speedway.
The second test, at Sebring International Raceway, was equally as productive. The team ran more than 85 laps and was able to gain from several developments from the off-season. Simona’s lap times continued to improve throughout the day and although outright lap time competition was not the team’s objective for the test, she finished as the fifth fastest driver on track.
“The tests went extremely well,” says Vince Kremer, HVM Team Manager. “We ran a lot of flawless laps at Texas and Sebring. Simona was able to give us excellent feedback on the changes we were making. The chassis is new, which gives us benefits over 2010 and she liked the feel of it.”
DeSilvestro seems to agree.
“I’m really happy with our results,” she said. “The car felt good and is performing the way we want it to with the changes and development the team has done. I’m optimistic about both our oval and road course programs this year. I am also excited to be working with Entergy on our sponsorship program.
HVM is currently doing one final pre-season test at Barber Motorsports Park this week, before the IZOD IndyCar season-opener at St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 27, 2011.