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Simona De Silvestro ready to take on Mount Panorama

Simona De Silvestro will partner Renee Gracie in this year's Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar race.

From "Swiss Miss" to "Iron Maiden", debutante V8 Supercar driver Simona De Silvestro hopes her hard-earned reputation will put her in good stead when she takes on the men and the mountain at Bathurst.

The 26-year-old IndyCar driver will share the duties with 20-year-old Renee Gracie in the first all-­female tilt at Mount Panorama in almost 20 years.

Having pursued a racing career ever since her father bought her a go-cart when she was five, De Silvestro is no stranger to the sort of carnage the mountain can inflict.

Four years ago she suffered burns in a horror crash preparing for the Indianapolis 500 in which her Dallara-Honda slammed into a fence, flipped and burst into flames. "After the crash in 2011, I burned my hands in practice on Thursday and was back in the car on Saturday," she said. "My nickname used to be Swiss Miss, which is so-so, but after that crash the press started calling me Iron Maiden. I think I like it better."

And after two days' practice in their Harvey Norman Supergirls' Ford FG X Falcon at Winton in rural Victoria, the Swiss driver admits swapping an open wheel cockpit for a right-hand drive V8 has been "a huge learning curve".

With 68 IndyCar starts, including five in the Indianapolis 500, where she was named Rookie of the Year in 2010, De Silvestro said V8s were heavier, less aerodynamic and had limited vision compared to open wheel cars. But they are fast, surprisingly fast.

"It's quite different, it's quite a big task to get used to it," she said. "That (seating position) was the first thing to get used to. The first morning I spent dropping my left wheel on the grass."

De Silvestro and Gracie will compete as a third Falcon for Prodrive Racing Australia, along with stablemates Mark Winterbottom and last year's Bathurst 1000 winner Chaz Mostert.