SPORT TAG Heuer x Porsche: Go the limit


Joanne Glasbey Watch editor of The Times Luxx magazine and its reports

Porsche’s first female works driver, Simona De Silvestro, is a Swiss, self-confessed clock watcher.

Swiss-born Simona De Silvestro has her dream job. She caught the racing bug early: ‘My dad had a car dealership and was always passionate about racing cars, and he got me a go-kart when I was six.’ She won her very first race and never looked back. At weekends, her parents would travel round Europe accompanying her to races, and at 16 she entered Formula 4, and relished the step up into the world of racing cars, and speed.

When the offer of financial support came from the US, she embraced the proposition, staying for eight years gaining experience, including driving in IndyCar races. Then, after time spent supercar racing in Australia, she joined Porsche. ‘All racing drivers dream about being with a big manufacturer when they are young, so racing Porsche cars is very special for me. The opportunity is exceptional. Every time you go into a race with Porsche you have a big chance to win,’ De Silvestro says. Plus, ‘it’s a real racing family – everyone looks after each other and gives you the best possibility to be successful.’

Part of her job involves being reserve driver for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, and she is passionate about being involved in the early stages of the developing sport. ‘I test the cars, spend time in the simulator, help my teammates get the best and fastest car. And as reserve driver I’m always ready to jump in and take part.’

Simona De Silvestro for TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team

The first difference you notice racing electric cars, she says, is the lack of noise. ‘You hear sounds you usually don’t, like the tyres locking – which makes a squeak, something I’d never heard before. New variables come into play: your driving needs to be more efficient. In regular racing you push hard most of the time; in Formula E you need to be constantly aware of managing the energy, so there’s more strategy. It’s really challenging, and part of what makes it exciting to watch.’

Being part of the Porsche family ‘has its perks’ she says, and she has her eye on the Taycan, ‘a really exceptional electric car.’ On her wrist, she wears a TAG Heuer Connected watch, and is enjoying its practicality. ‘I’m getting used to all the functions, which are great when I’m training, and when I play golf – a big hobby.’

Of course, for racing drivers, ‘timing is everything’, she explains. ‘We fight on the race track for the tiniest margin to be the most efficient round the corners, and a tenth of a second can make two or three places’ difference. As a racing driver that’s what you’re fighting for.’

And, she adds: ‘Being Swiss, I’m always on time for everything.

Joanne Glasbey Watch editor of The Times Luxx magazine and its reports