HVM Racing and Entergy Nuclear announced the three-year deal at the InterContinental hotel in downtown Baltimore, before Simona de Silvestro got to work on pit stop practice at the circuit that will host September's Baltimore Grand Prix.

"This is great news for HVM and for Simona," HVM team owner Keith Wiggins said. "It gives Simona a long-term opportunity to develop into a top IndyCar driver while the team will have a stable platform over multiple years to support our championship effort."

"It is an important time for our country to hear our nuclear clean air energy story," said the President, CEO and Chief Nuclear Officer at Entergy John Herron. "With Simona as a lead spokesperson for our effort, teaming up with HVM and IndyCar brings visibility to the issue of U.S. energy policy."

Entergy is in its fourth year of the 'Nuclear Clean Air Energy' national education campaign, and made its first foray into IndyCar sponsorship with HVM Racing at last year's Indianapolis 500 when de Silvestro was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. The company had previously sponsored her when she won her first Atlantic race in 2008.

"We have a great partnership with Entergy and I'm glad they are coming aboard," said de Silvestro, adding that she and Entergy have "had a really good start, hopefully it can continue. Now that they are full time, hopefully we can add more memories.

"It's a really special feeling, and I'm excited for 2011," she continued. "It's the first time in my career that I know I will be able to race not only this year, but for the next couple of years."

De Silvestro competed in all 17 races in IndyCar in 2010 and claimed two top ten finishes, her highest placing being 8th in the Mid-Ohio road event. She qualified seventh at Edmonton and ran with the frontrunners before being punted into a spin.

She finished 19th in the championship with 242pts. Previously she has competed in Italy's Formula Renault 2.0 (2005), Formula BMW USA (2006), Champ Car Atlantic (2007) and the Atlantic Championship in 2008-9, finishing in third position in the series in the second year.

De Silvestro was involved in one of IndyCar's more high profile accidents in 2010 when her car crashed during the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway and her car caught fire. The IndyCar safety officials were criticised for their lack of speed responding to the crash and the apparent malfunction of fire-fighting equipment that saw de Silvestro scrambling to avoid serious injury; she suffered burns to her right hand before being pulled clear.

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