Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Ambitions to Become a Full-Time IndyCar Team Remain for Paretta

Beth Paretta at the announcement at IMS on 2022 plans.
Beth Paretta remains steadfast with her commitment to one day field a full-time squad in the NTT IndyCar Series. Image courtesy of Chris Owens / Penske Entertainment

Paretta Autosport is not slowing down. In fact, racing plans have only improved for 2022 as the female-led team continues to evolve in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Team owner Beth Paretta had a formal announcement on Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that she would enter her organization, with a technical partnership from Ed Carpenter Racing, for three races – Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Nashville – of the current NTT IndyCar Series season. Paretta also revealed a new partner with KiwCo coming on as a new sponsor of the team, along with confirming the return of Simona De Silvestro as the primary driver.

Last season, the No. 16 Chevrolet was fielded by Paretta for its series debut in the Indianapolis 500, which was aided by Team Penske and IndyCar owner, Roger Penske. Coming into this year, Penske’s help was not delivered to Paretta as the team still needed assistance to put a handful of races together.

“I started working on this realistically right after the 500 ended last year,” Paretta said of the new partnership. “I knew that my arrangement I had with Team Penske was not going to be the same, which Roger and I, we’ve talked about that from the beginning.

“The people that we worked with last year have been redeployed to a different racing program. Literally, the people are doing something else. I didn’t have the availability to work with them. Because we knew that, we had to figure out what else would be the best fit for us.”

Going forward with a new deal on the horizon, Paretta preferred to be a single car effort and not be a plug-in and play entry, which is important for the development of the team.

“If we’re sitting across the table crafting this together, there’s two things at play here: it’s a smart competition decision and business decision,” she added. “Both of those things are weighed equally, especially if you’re in Ed’s or my chair. The decision was they’re going to do the three cars for the 500, but this allows us to have room to do these races later in the year.”

For Paretta, the move not only helps expand the platform for her team, but happens with ECR, a team as large as it has ever been with two full-time entries and a part-time oval car with Carpenter.

“I looked at a few things,” Paretta said. “My intention was always 500 plus. If we were going to do the 500, it was not just the 500. In talking to Ed, obviously knowing where is the constraint? We know there’s some challenges with how many people are available, how many cars are available.

“I said, ‘Okay, let’s look at an alternate way to do this.’ Honestly, it was a conversation with some of the folks at Chevrolet. I said, ‘This is what I’m thinking of doing, but I’m not sure what is the best.’

Paretta was unsure of the certainty of plans as Chevrolet nudged her in the direction of going with Carpenter.

“It kind of validated where I was,” Paretta said. “Then Ed gratefully answered the phone. That’s how it came to be. It’s been a long time coming. Ed and I talked years ago.

“Everybody knows, there’s so many moving parts to all of these working agreements because there are so many elements. Sometimes you want to work together, but the timing isn’t right. It really all came together that the people, the timing and everything has come together now.”

The prestige around the team has loomed since their initial reveal and brand in early 2021. There has never been a nearly all-female team in the IndyCar paddock before, let alone one running a full compliment of races in a single season.

“To me, what we’re doing is growth for my team,” Paretta said. “It’s getting women and Simona to new places. If our intention is to be a full-time team, this is a better investment in us.”

Matt Narváez
Matt Narváez
Matthew is a NASCAR contributor apart of the team. A fan of racing since 2011, he has had passion for sports journalism since 2015 and is a current Mass Communications student at the University of South Florida.

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