Meet the avant-garde women’s team Paretta Autosport taking on the Indy 500

Illustration from the article titled Meet The Full Female-Forward Paretta Autosport Team taking on the Indy 500

Photo: James Black / IndyCar Media

As 33 cars line up for the start of the iconic 500-mile race tomorrow morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the last starter on the grid will make history. Car # 16 will be driven by Simona de Silvestro and lined up by Paretta Autosport. This isn’t just the first time that a female-owned team will aim for the iconic victory – it will be the first time that a forward female crew will help make that effort. And today we’re going to introduce you to the women on the team who break boundaries.

“With this IndyCar team I have veterans, and women who are new to motorsport,” Beth Paretta told me in an interview with A Girl’s Guide to Cars. “I did it on purpose because I don’t necessarily want to do things the way everyone else did. This is meant to be more than a racing team. I need people to understand that it comes with all the extras because all the extras are what makes it special.

“When I hired for the pit crew, I let them know: you’re going to have to speak in public,” Paretta said. “This is not normally part of the job description!”

This is because this team is designed to show women that motorsport is more than a male dominated sphere. It’s a place to showcase your engineering skills on the big stage. As Paretta said, it also provides immediate feedback: instead of having to wait and see how your job unfolds on a car that’s due to launch in a year, you can see it every weekend on the track. race.

These are things that women may not know, but which Paretta Autosport is dedicated to highlighting.

Illustration from the article titled Meet The Full Female-Forward Paretta Autosport Team taking on the Indy 500

Photo: Chris Owens IndyCar Media

Beth paretta

  • CEO / Team leader
  • Started working at car dealerships before becoming Director of Business Development for Volkswagen of America, then held positions at Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Fiat Chrysler.
  • Became the first female director of a performance brand when she took on the role of Director of Marketing and Operations for FCA’s Street and Racing Technology brand.
  • Its teams have won three national titles
  • Launch of Grace Autosport in 2015, then Paretta Autosport in collaboration with Team Penske

Simona de Silvestro

  • Driver
  • Has a long history of racing in IndyCar, Formula E and Supercars, in addition to being a Porsche factory driver
  • Single woman competing in the 2021 Indy 500
  • This is his sixth Indy 500; his best result came in 2010 with a 14th place

Ayla Agren

  • Observer
  • Racing driver with dual Norwegian and Swedish nationality
  • Currently in the W series, winner of the Formula Ford-spec F1600 2014
  • Former Ben Hanley spotter in IndyCar, others in sports car racing

Caitlyn brown

  • Mechanic tire / IF
  • Graduated from the NASCAR Technical Institute in 2018; finalist for the Roger Penske Award for Outstanding Student; on NASCAR Technical Institute Director’s List of Honors
  • Member of the assembly team at Team Penske

Andra Buzatu

  • Mechanic
  • Joined the Coast Guard, then attended machinery technician school to become a diesel mechanic
  • Currently attending NASCAR Technical Institute

Madison Conrad

  • Tire mechanic / IR
  • Graduated from NASCAR Technical Institute in 2017, won the Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award the previous year
  • Started career as an intern at Roush Yates Engines, progressed to marketing specialist and post-race technician specializing in post-race engine teardown and inspection
  • 2014 Track Champion, 2012 Sandia Speedway Rookie of the Year
Illustration from the article titled Meet The Full Female-Forward Paretta Autosport Team taking on the Indy 500

Photo: Joe Skibinski IndyCar Media

Linda conti

  • Observer
  • Daughter of a motorcycle rider on a flat track; studied automotive engineering at Henry Ford College and the first female mechanic hired by Skip Barber Pro Series
  • Co-ownership of an IndyCar team with her husband Dave; she is believed to be the first female team manager in Indy 500 history
  • Currently Senior Executive Vice President of Acorn Advisors Group
  • Acquired a reputation as a great observer of pilots

Sara Durant

  • Tires
  • Tire specialist for production car racing teams (including Stewart-Haas) and Rev Racing as part of the Drive for Diversity program

Amanda Frayer

  • Outer rear tire changer
  • No motorsport experience but has the fitness and desire for the job
  • Former college field hockey and basketball athlete

Mallorie Muller

  • Crew member
  • Member of the Cheersport National Championship team for the University of Georgia
  • Crossfit and Grid League competitor, holder of a Master of Science

Chelsea pechenino

  • Assistant Data Engineer
  • Current student at Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Business

Lauren Sullivan

  • Aeronautical engineer
  • Began his career as a wind tunnel test engineer for Boeing, then joined Team Penske
  • Advocate for women in STEM

Runa Amin

  • Marketing and Events Intern
  • Current student at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology with a double major in Motorsport Engineering and German
  • Mentee of Women in Engineering Network, Team Leader Mentee in the Society of Women Engineers All-Female Kart Team; mentor at his university
  • Received a Jaguar Excellence Award Academic Fellowship and the Mitch Daniel Early Graduation Fellowship

Stacey Bakaj

  • Web design and development
  • Two decades of experience in digital advertising, branding, news design and typography
  • Mentor for the Youth Design Boston program
  • Led the design team for The Grommet e-commerce brand

Barbara burns

  • Public relations
  • Has worked in almost all forms of motorsport, from boat racing to Formula 1, as a public relations representative for race tracks, sanctioning bodies, media and racing teams
  • Owned his own public relations firm Burns Group for almost thirty years years

Maria grady

  • Photographer
  • America Motorsport Hall of Fame Photographer
  • Served as a volunteer at the Detroit F1 race
  • Photographed for Shell Motorsports, Team Rahal, sponsors, LAT Photographic
  • Sales experience

Belicia Montgomery

  • Commercial operations
  • Coached by Beth Paretta as part of the Sports Business Journal CSM Mentorship Challenge
  • Won the title DEI Champion – National Diversity Award and Game Changer Award by SBJ

Heather pirowski

  • Partnerships
  • Founder of Fearless Nation, a fashion start-up designed to empower women and people with disabilities
  • Served as a volunteer advisor when Grace Autosport attempted the Indy 500
  • Producer of a monthly style segment in Indianapolis

Linda Rosenberg

  • Marketing and merchandise
  • Started his career at IndyCar as Director of Marketing and Licensing for Champ Car
  • Also worked with MainGate and Honda Merchandising
  • Assisted IndyCar booth journalists for NBC since 2010

About Todd Wurtsbach

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