Beth Paretta, Team Principal, Paretta Autosport

Beth Paretta, Team Principal, Paretta Autosport

Paretta Autosport showcased their all women team for the first time at the 2021 Indianapolis 500, but for Beth Paretta, it was more than a race.

Beth Paretta says she never really noticed being the only woman in upper management levels while working for some of the top auto companies in the world. That is, until she saw a photo of herself with a group of colleagues at a conference. It dawned on her that women need to see other women at high levels in motorsports or in various automotive fields to see that it’s attainable for themselves.

Paretta told Engine Builder, when kids have career days at school, for example, most of the boys gravitate towards astronauts or firefighters, military pilots and racecar drivers. On the other hand, girls are shown that they can be in design, art, fashion, or some other more gender-focused profession. But seeing is believing.

In 2016, Paretta attempted to field a team in the Indy 500 with Katherine Legge and some other women crew members. She said the money and sponsors were all there, but finding a team with an extra car was a big challenge. Few cars were available to lease out, and one of her original backers – Honda – didn’t have any spare cars. She had to look outside of the manufacturer’s scope and try to find any spare available.

As things turned out, Grace Autosport failed to get out of the starting gate. The terms for leasing a car were not a fit, so she pulled the plug, but the seed was planted and would later lead to what has become Paretta Autosport.

If you watched any of the events leading up to the 2021 running of the Indy 500, chances are you saw Beth Paretta and Simona de Silvestro featured in the coverage of the race. On Bump Day, a day where the bottom half of the field qualify and fill the final spots, there were more cars than the allotted 33. Simona and Paretta Autosport, a partner with Roger Penske’s team, were on the back foot.

Simona made a few attempts trying to get up to speed, but it wasn’t there. They made one final attempt after huddling with their engineering staff and driver to make some adjustments and got back in line. For four laps, the television crew focused on Beth as much as they did Simona as she ran flat out, squeezing every thousandth of a second out of the car each lap. At the end of the run, it was just enough to get into the field, but there were a couple of other teams that could bump her out, including Will Power of Team Penske.

It was a nail-biter to the timing gun that ended that qualifying day in May. Simona and Power both made the field by a whisker. Simona was barely out-qualified by Penske’s Will Power and was the 33rd and last qualifier for the 500. At Indy, just making the show is a big deal. Only four women have ever qualified for the race. For Paretta, however, it was more than a race. A point was made with her mostly female team that showed all of the little girls and fans in the stands that they too could be in the racing industry too, if they desired.

Paretta says she would love to run the entire series next year if the funding is there. Simona and the rest of the team would be happy to take on that challenge as well. For now, the seeds have been planted. Women in motorsports is not new. Beth wanted to showcase more than just the driver. She wanted to show that women were capable in all of the positions on the team, including as tire changers, mechanics, engineers and team owners. According to Paretta, whenever they showed Simona doing a pit stop on the big screen, all the fans in the stands would give a loud cheer. While Paretta Autosport was knocked out of the race early this time, we can’t wait to see what they can do next year.

You May Also Like

Open Loop/Closed Loop and Learning

Closed-loop control can be programmed to either add or subtract up to a certain percentage of fuel in order for the engine to reach the target air/fuel ratio.

Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) is all the rage today and rightfully so. EFI has many advantages that allow us to dial in the fuel in a dramatically more precise fashion than was ever possible with a carburetor. One of the tools at our disposal is the closed loop algorithm where the target air/fuel ratio commanded in the ECU is compared to the actual air/fuel ratio read by the O2 sensor. If the two do not match, the ECU makes small changes by either adding or subtracting from the commanded fuel in the fuel table to equalize the two. 

Top 10 Ken Block Gymkhana Films

Who doesn’t like a little bit of burnt rubber?

America’s Best Engine Shops 2022 | H&H Flatheads

Despite not being a fancy, state-of-the-art set up, Mike and his team at H&H have a great thing going. The equipment does exactly what it needs to, his team is experienced and the shop has built thousands of vintage engines for customers everywhere!

America’s Best Engine Shops 2022 | Choate Engineering Performance

This shop’s dedication to quality engine work, its growth, its machining capabilities and its impact in the diesel industry, all make Choate Engineering Performance well deserving of Engine Builder’s and Autolite’s 2022 America’s Best Diesel Engine Shop award.

America’s Best Engine Shops 2022 | 4 Piston Racing

The 4 Piston Racing facility in Danville, IN houses two buildings – one is 12,000 sq.-ft. and the other is 2,500 sq.-ft. The shop is very heavily focused on Honda cylinder heads and engine work to the tune of 300+ engines and 1,000 cylinder heads annually!

Other Posts

Chip Ganassi Racing Announces Women in Motorsports Internship Class

Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) and PNC Bank have selected the class for the second year of their women-only internship program.  Related Articles – PennGrade1 Partners with American Motorcycle Racing Association – Ryan Hunter to Retire from SCE Gaskets – Tick Performance is Under New Ownership The Women In Motorsports Powered by PNC Bank with Chip

One-on-One with Jim Dunn Racing’s Johnna Dunn

After speaking with Kaylynn Simmons a couple years ago, we found out there are only a few women who work on the pit crews of the NHRA teams. One of those few other women is Johnna Dunn, a clutch specialist for Jim Dunn Racing. It’s a family affair for Johnna, who works alongside many family

One-on-One with Katie Coleman of LinCo Diesel Performance

We got to visit LinCo Diesel Performance in Troy, MO, just outside St. Louis, back in early 2022. It was then that we were introduced to Katie Coleman, a cylinder head specialist at the shop, but an industry vet with 15+ years of experience. She was extremely sought after when shops found out she was

One-on-One with Janine Shoffner of J2-Racing

Whether it’s motorcycles, skydiving or road racing, Janine Shoffner has an addiction to adrenaline-filled activities. For the last decade, road racing has been her biggest passion as a co-founder of J2-Racing. Watch this interview to get a glimpse into her world. Related Articles – 1973 Toyota Celica with a Turbocharged 388 cid LS Engine –