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Introducing Katherine Legge

Around the same time of the Champ Car and Indy Car merger, I had the opportunity to go to Spain and compete in a shoot-out to determine who would be a part of Audi’s factory driver line up in the DTM. At that time, everything was rather unsure in the USA with regards to which teams would be making the cross over and what exactly would happen with the merger—so I choose the safe route (which is quite unlike me!) and decided to go back to Europe and try my hand at the world’s top Touring Car Series—which is a bit like our version of NASCAR. 

However, over the last three years there I continued to keep one eye on the IZOD IndyCar Series and what I see for myself, as a bit of unfinished business in the USA. I enjoyed my time in the DTM, learning to be the best athlete, driver, and person that I can be. But, I missed the most of all the racing, people and places in the USA.

Over the last couple of years I became more and more impressed at the progress made by the IZOD IndyCar Series because there was so much positive news coming across the pond. The Series has really made tremendous strides in such a short time--so last October I decided to do a recon mission and I went to Indy to meet with some teams. After positive feedback—I decided to make a trip to Homestead Miami Speedway to an INDYCAR race in order decide for myself if I was going to follow my heart and come back home to Open Wheel Racing.

About halfway through the flight my mind was made up! I persuaded my fiancée to come with me (he is also a driver-- I live at racetracks people---where else am I going to meet someone) and so it began…

I hopped the pond to Indy for a meeting in early January, bags packed and ready to get started. I believe it was "The State of INDYCAR" meeting--or something to that effect.

I had already reconnected with a few people from my Champ Car days and I was fortunate to be able to go to work straight after that meeting with my management talking with teams, re-connecting with people and sponsorship hunting. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I was sure it would be worth it.

I have always had my eye on the Indianapolis 500. It is the Crown Jewel of racing and such a big and exciting draw to everyone, but especially drivers! It has always been on my ‘bucket list’ and I always thought if I could get myself in a good team I could do really well there. The nature of my driving has always been really strong in longer races and I am just itching at the possibility of running there.

Tradition is something that makes the Indianapolis 500 such a great event, and I am big on tradition!  Attending the 100th Anniversary celebration this year was both difficult and motivating, and it made me want to be a part of it even more in 2012.

To be a part of a century of history that includes such legendary names as Foyt, Andretti, Unser, Mears, Rahal, and others is just something that I cannot even imagine. I really want to be the first woman to have my face enshrined on that Borg Warner trophy.

I wonder if they will let me use that milk in my tea….

The Indianapolis 500 is the most significant single motorsport event in the world hence the name ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’.  The Grand Prix of Monaco, Daytona 500, Le Mans etc. are also very important, but none are nearly as pervasive as the Indianapolis 500; at least to me anyway!  Every driver in the world would want a win at Indy on their resume, no matter your individual discipline and I am certainly no different.
IndyCar and the 500 have always been on my radar--even growing up in England… I remember watching it every year as a kid. The thing I remember most is when Nigel Mansell came over here, I was watching it cheering him on! However, it wasn’t until I actually raced in the USA, first testing in an Indy Pro Series car in 2004, that I realized the magnitude of the annual event at Indianapolis. I was hooked. I knew that I had to be a part of it someday, with a dream of winning it. I still have that dream quite often and I have the whole thing played out completely in my head! It’s quite mad actually!!

I am most intrigued by the design of the track and can’t wait to race on it. I love to learn about history and when I saw the photo of  the original mini ‘plan’ of the racetrack drawn in dirt, it made me really think of the roots and passion behind the legendary track. The unique design of the flat oval must be very interesting to drive. The flat sweeping corners are more like road course corners, so I can see how drivers with talents at both road courses and ovals would do well at Indianapolis.
I missed my time here in America when I was racing in Europe. Specifically, I lived in Indianapolis when I was here racing in Champ Car and I am proud to call it home again.
I like the evolving schedule of the IZOD IndyCar Series. I like the mix of road, street, and oval circuits. I believe it is the best way to test the drivers and find a true driver champion. I think the new car in 2012 will be an exciting addition to the Series for the fans and drivers alike.
We are still working very hard on building a comprehensive sponsorship program that makes sense for everyone, especially the sponsors. It's been tough sometimes to not take a one, two, or three race deal as I am eager to get back on track. But I know that all eyes will be on me for my return so I want it to be a professional, top-notch program, and one that will give me a chance to win on a regular basis and prove to my fans that I have what it takes to make my own mark in history. 

I do know that whatever happens I can say to everyone and especially myself that this time I have the experience to do it right. I can promise you all that I will give it 110% and I won’t leave anything on the table. I look forward to giving my best and being a lasting part of the history of the Indianapolis 500 and the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

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