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Legge 'underestimated difficulty of return'

Katherine Legge has admitted that she underestimated how difficult it would be to get back into single-seater racing in the US after three seasons away in DTM.
Katherine Legge is finally back in US open-wheel racing - arguably where she truly belongs, despite three seasons in DTM since her last outing for Dale Coyne Racing in Champ Car in 2007.

"It's the kind of tracks they race on," explained Legge. "You can test yourself in every way. And obviously, they have the Indy 500, which is a massive thing to me. I've wanted to do that since the age of seven. It's real racing, it's wheel to wheel and I love being in America."

But getting back to the US certainly hasn't been easy.

"I thought I'd come back and was sure I would get a ride," she told this week, before admitting: "I didn't realise how difficult it would be ... There have been a lot of people I respect that have given me advice to the contrary because they didn't know it was going to be possible.

"Nobody really expected it of me, but when I set my mind to something I'm like a dog with a bone and don't let go. I laser focus in on that point ... I have a very never-give-up attitude and now here I am."

Legge was the first woman to compete full time in the Champ Car World Series in 2006 and also the first woman to lead a lap in that series, after having previously won three races in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2005 - making her the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America.

That should have set her up to be the leading female competitor in the sport, but instead that position went to Danica Patrick when Legge dropped out of US racing in the aftermath of the unification of the rival Champ Car and Indy Racing League championships to form the IndyCar Series in 2008.

Instead, Legge returned to Europe and took up seats in DTM racing with Futurecom TME, Abt Lady Power and Team Rosberg, and met fellow driver Peter Terting who is now her fiancé. But IndyCar continued to be an itch that Legge needed to scratch, and in 2011 Legge moved back to the US to try and make it a reality.

"Once I decided that I was going to come back to IndyCar, I had to find a way to make it happen," she told "I've had a very hard year of work and I had sleepless nights, but it's my dream and I've followed it and I'm very happy it's paying off."

Legge's return to the IZOD IndyCar Series with the backing of primary sponsor TrueCar was finally confirmed last week, with the announcement that she is to drive for Dragon Racing. Now the deal is done, she can finally put to one side all the deal-making she's had to focus on over the last year to make it happen - and concentrate instead on the race track.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Champ Car World Series. 9-11 Nov. 2007. Gran Premio Tecate. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Mexico City, Mexico. Katherine Legge.
Champ Car World Series. 27-29 July 2007. San Jose Grand Prix. San Jose, California.  Katherine Legge.
Champ Car World Series. 10-12 August 2007. Road America. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin USA. Katherine Legge.
Katherine Legge completed the first open test lap with the new Panoz DP01 while running with Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring   [Pic courtesy of the Champ Car World Series]
Champ Car World Series. 27-29 July 2007. San Jose Grand Prix. San Jose, California. Katherine legge on way back to pits after crash.
Champ Car World Series. 27-29 July 2007. San Jose Grand Prix. San Jose, California.  Katherine Legge.
Detroit IndyCar race start
Esteban Gutierrez IndyCar Detroit
Graham Rahal Detroit IndyCar 2017
Scott Dixon Indy 500
Sebastien Bourdais Indy 500 practice
Sebastien Bourdais
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
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JOHN - Unregistered

January 20, 2012 5:16 PM

If I'm not mistaken, she's the one who had the huge accident in CART and totaled her car. Lucky she survived that, yes its tough. Anyone who drives IndyCar deserves the greatest of respect if the recent accidents are anything to go by (not to mention the Dan Wheldon tragedy). How far she goes remains to be seen.....

Don - Unregistered

January 20, 2012 6:41 PM

You're right John. Her rear wing broke at one of the fastest sections at Road America during a Champ Car race. It's amazing that she survived. More remarkable, she walked away almost unscathed. I'm pretty certain she will struggle mightily as the IndyCar driver line up is very deep, and the new car will be a handful to drive.

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