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Date set for De Silvestro’s first DJR drive

SWISS star Simona De Silvestro believes her time away from Supercars will help ensure she tackles Gen3 with a fresh mindset.

De Silvestro made Bathurst 1000 cameos in 2015 and ’16 before going full-time in a Kelly Racing Nissan from 2017-19.

She has not driven a Supercar since the 2019 Newcastle 500 but had regularly reiterated a desire to return to Mount Panorama, and sparked interest when she appeared in the paddock at the Darwin Triple Crown last month.

De Silvestro has now been confirmed alongside teen Kai Allen in a one-off Dick Johnson Racing wildcard for October’s Bathurst 1000.

DJR team principal Ben Croke outlined the “tight program” via which the #98 Shell V-Power wildcard will prepare.

MORE: The stars who have raced #98 in ATCC/Supercars

“Pretty much for the whole month of September and then into early October, Simona will be joining us here in Australia and Kai will be spending some time up here as well,” said Croke, with De Silvestro and Allen respectively based in Europe and South Australia.

“The first run for those guys will be on the fourth of September at QR, and then with all three cars on the fifth of September.

“And then we’ll squeeze another one in which will be a lot of process and procedure and endurance race stuff like that just before Bathurst.

“It’s all in a very tight timeframe but it’s all around making sure that their time in the Gen3 car is maximised and in a really good timeframe leading into Bathurst so that they’re familiar with all of their surroundings, the team, the car, everything else that goes into making sure that Bathurst is done well.”

MORE: How historic day laid foundation for DJR wildcard

De Silvestro, who has been in regular contact with DJR ace Will Davison, is looking forward to that first outing.

“I think the test days will be really important to understand it,” she said of Gen3.

Simona De Silvestro and Kai Allen

“Maybe it’s also a good thing that I haven’t driven a Supercar in the last few years because we go in with a fresh mindset into it.

“But from what I have heard, it is a little bit different and I just can’t wait to get my hands on it and really feel for myself how it feels to drive.”

The 34-year-old, who at one stage came close to signing with Triple Eight, added she has “unfinished business” in Supercars.

“When I look at my three years in Supercars, I felt I developed quite well throughout the years but definitely I think the car I was in maybe wasn’t able to be where it should be,” she said.

“For sure, coming back to Bathurst is one thing, but I think coming back with this team it gives me (motivation), I want to work even harder to get a good result and to really come out of the weekend on a high because I think we have all of the pieces to do pretty well.

“I think unfinished business is always there.

“You want to be winning and want to show what you can when you’re in a race car so this is an amazing opportunity for it.”

DJR will share a pit boom at Bathurst with Triple Eight’s wildcard for Zane Goddard/Craig Lowndes.

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