Supercars driver Simona De Silvestro.
Supercars driver Simona De Silvestro.

De Silvestro staying focused

SIMONA De Silvestro has declared Nissan's bombshell decision to quit Supercars will not affect her negotiations to continue as the sport's only full-time female driver.

In her first interview since Nissan announced it would not renew its deal to stay with Kelly Racing next year, De Silvestro revealed she would not walk out on the team following the Japanese giant's shock move.

De Silvestro will be a free agent at the end of the year and has already attracted interest from rivals.

"The Nissan announcement doesn't change anything for me,'' de Silvestro said.

"I understand what the team had planned for the future. My attention is on doing a good job this weekend.''

De Silvestro created history in 2016 when she became the first ever full-time Supercars driver.

Kelly Racing, backed by the clout of Nissan, beat several rival teams to sign the Swiss star known as the "Iron Maiden''.

Earlier this year De Silvestro revealed her plan to stay in Australia and continue as a Supercars driver following her current deal.

"The plan is to stay,'' de Silvestro said.

"Coming here in the first place was a very big move and I didn't take it lightly. Coming from Europe, it was a long way away. But I did it because I love Supercars and I like the competition of the series.''

"My goal is to have a good and long plan in Supercars. It is the time to get going and get results. I think we are getting there.''

Simona De Silvestro in action at Symmons Plains.
Simona De Silvestro in action at Symmons Plains.

Kelly Racing has been attempting to secure de Silvestro to a new deal - but it is understood the now non-factory-backed team is facing competition from rivals.

Former Holden boss Mark Harland earlier this year admitted the Australian car company was interested in snatching de Silvestro away from Nissan.

"I also have not ruled out having a chat to Simona,'' Harland said.

"That is something I intend to do. We will look at that and I certainly wouldn't eliminate anything at this point.''

De Silvestro distanced herself from the interest on Thursday by declaring she was focused on delivering results on the track.

"My attention is on continuing the momentum we have been building over the last few rounds,'' de Silvestro said.

"Getting caught up in everything away from the track isn't going to help that. Everyone at the team is committed to achieving the best that we can. So my focus is working with the drivers to bring us to the front.''

Kelly Racing will continue running four Nissan Altima's next year without the financial support of Nissan.

Team co-owner Todd Kelly would not discuss the contract negotiations between his team and de Silvestro when contacted on Thursday.

"The progress we've shown on track this year represents all the development going on behind the scenes this year,'' Kelly said.

"We have a great bunch of people working tirelessly to always improve, including our mechanics, engineers and the drivers. 2019 is starting to take shape now. Continuity can be an important element and that is what we will be continuing with the Altima. There is still plenty for us to unlock in this package.''

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