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Swiss racer back for Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

Following last week’s announcement that Simona de Silvestro would become Andretti Autosport’s fifth entry for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the team confirmed today the Swiss racer will be back with the four-time IndyCar champions for the second round of Verizon IndyCar Series competition this weekend in New Orleans. The 26-year-old will once again pilot the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda for the inaugural event to be held at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, LA.

 “It’s great to get another shot in the car and improve on everything we learned in St. Petersburg,” de Silvestro commented. “I’m really looking forward to being able to work with everyone again and hopefully have a better race! I’m really thankful for all that Michael (Andretti) and everyone at Andretti Autosport have been doing to make all of this happen.”

 The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg served as de Silvestro’s comeback to the Verizon IndyCar Series after a year away to pursue her Formula One dreams. The 2010 IndyCar Rookie of the Year came away fifth fastest in the final practice session, rolled off the starting grid from the 11th position and arrived at the twin checkers for a P18 finish.

“Simona obviously didn’t have the greatest outcome in St. Pete, but she was always up there fighting to get ahead,” said Michael Andretti, president, chairman and CEO of Andretti Autosport. “She proved herself both on and off the track. The great thing about Simona is that she keeps her head down and continues to push – she fights hard. We’re happy to be able to bring her back for another round before the Indy 500.”

In support of the local community, de Silvestro will be carrying Ochsner Health System’s branding on her No. 25 machine, along with the Racing for Kids badge. The racing veteran will join Racing for Kids to visit young patients at Ochsner Hospital for Children on Thursday, leading up to the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

 The Andretti Autosport quartet will take to the 2.75-mile track in the Jefferson Parish area this weekend for the inaugural event – the first race visit to a new permanent circuit in five years. The broadcast will go live on NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, April 12. You can also follow the team’s Twitter for a behind-the-scenes look at @FollowAndretti.