With just weeks until pre-season testing kicks off in Valencia, Spain on October 15, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team revealed Simona De Silvestro and Thomas Preining as its test and development drivers.
Already involved in simulator work at the team’s headquarters in Weissach, the pair will be on-site at select Formula E races and available to the team at in-season testing ahead of the season opener in Saudi Arabia on November 22.
No stranger to Formula E, Silvestro first gained experience in the all-electric series after taking part in the final two races of the inaugural season in 2014/15. She was then signed as a regular driver by Andretti for the 2015/16 season before supporting Venturi Formula E Team as a test driver during the 2018/19 campaign.
“It is a great honour to work for this prestigious brand,” said Silvestro. “I am really looking forward to my new role as test and development driver for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.
“Over the last few years, I have gained a lot of experience from my previous involvements in Formula E. I will do my best to help Porsche on the road to success.”
After starting her career in karting, the Silvestro moved to America at the age of 18. Finishing fourth in Formula BMW USA in 2006. She then raced in the Atlantic Championship and IndyCar Series. In 2010, she was named Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500. In 2013, she finished second to earn a spot on the podium in Houston before a brief foray into Formula One as an affiliated driver with the Sauber F1 Team the following year. While the Swiss woman has spent the last three years competing in the Australian Supercars Championship, she is the very first female Porsche works driver.
Joining Silvestro is Thomas Preining. Having raced for the German manufacturer in GT racing, the 21 year-old makes his debut in the all electric championship. After starting out in karting, he raced up in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship, before switching to the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland as a Porsche Junior in 2017.
“I am very much looking forward to my new role in the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team,” said Preining. “I have followed Formula E closely from the word go.”
“I am very excited to see what it feels like to drive the Porsche 99X Electric on the track. It is great to be able to support Porsche in its debut season in Formula E, and to be a part of this future-oriented project from the outset.”
The Austrian caught the attention of the motorsport community in the same year, finishing second in the rookie standings before dominating the 2018 season, winning ten races on his way to the title. Preining also impressed in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. He finished third in the Drivers’ Championship and, together with champion Michael Ammermueller, secured the Team title for Lechner Racing. In 2019, now a Porsche Young Professional, Preining is driving for Porsche customer team Gulf Racing in the FIA WEC (GTE-AM class) and also competes in the ADAC GT Masters with Herbert Motorsport.
Together, the appointment of Silvestro and Preining completes Porsche’s full driver line up ahead of it’s debut season in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Going head to head with the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, each of the German power houses will be battling for the all-important championship title in the sixth season of the all-electric series.
“In Simona and Thomas, we have acquired two proven talents for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team,” said Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport and Group Motorsport Volkswagen AG.
“Simona comes with a wealth of experience gained in various different race series and is also a familiar face in Formula E. We are looking forward to working with her and welcome her to the Porsche family.
“Thomas has been with us since 2017, during which time he has demonstrated his talent in GT racing on numerous occasions.
“With the Formula E programme, we are giving Simona and Thomas the opportunity to develop as drivers and to make a positive contribution to the Porsche Formula E project.”