Legge hopeful of Indy 500 return with Coyne
Katherine Legge says she would “love” the opportunity to sub for the injured Pietro Fittipaldi in the #19 Dale Coyne Racing-Honda at Indy, and is already in talks with potential sponsors.
Legge and Alvaro Parente yesterday finished second at Mid-Ohio in IMSA’s GTD class driving the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX, but Legge says that open-wheel racing remains on her radar, and she’d jump at the chance to race for Coyne at both Indy and Texas Motor Speedway.
“Obviously, first of all, it’s unfortunate how the ride became available,” Legge told Motorsport.com. “Pietro’s a really good driver and those injuries are horrible. It’s sad for him – and sad for the 500 to not have the Fittipaldi name there again.
“But I’m a racer and I believe I could do a good job for Dale, and would love the opportunity to prove it.”
Coyne incumbent Sebastien Bourdais was a pole position contender at Indy last year until his accident, while teammate Ed Jones went on to finish third. Legge said that those performances added to her eagerness to race at for DCR.
“Absolutely, I feel it’s going to be a competitive seat,” she said. “There’s the results at Indy last year, but also the fact that, Dale’s team has just moved onto a whole new level. Craig Hampson and Michael Cannon are great engineers – two of the best, actually.
“And then there’s the fact that it’s Honda power. As I’m an Acura racer in IMSA, it would be nice to continue the relationship with the HPD ‘family.’ We have a strong relationship.
“So I’ve had people reach out to Dale and he is looking for some funding, so we’re seeing what we can come up with to try and be on the grid this year.
“I know there’s a number of drivers in contention for this ride and Dale’s been inundated with calls, but I think a couple of my partners could help make this happen. The feedback has been pretty positive – although nothing’s done yet."
Legge, who finished third in the 2005 Atlantic Championship, spent two years in Champ Car, the second of which was with Coyne. Following the merger of Champ Car and Indy Racing League, she was one of the many drivers to miss out on a ride in U.S. open-wheel, but after a three-year spell in DTM, Legge competed for Dragon Racing in IndyCar in 2012 and then did a one-off at the 500 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in ’13.
After three years racing the DeltaWing in IMSA, Legge moved to Michael Shank Racing, scoring two GTD wins with the NSX last year, and she currently lies third in the GTD championship. But she said she is confident that a lengthy spell away from open-wheel won’t be a hindrance, despite 35 entries meaning there will be 'bumping' to fill the 33-car grid.
“I’m absolutely confident I could get on the grid [at Indy],” she said, “as I’d have a lot more testing than the last time I stepped in. Everyone I’ve spoken to, or opinions I’ve read, says that Indy is the track where this year’s cars are most similar to the cars when they had manufacturer aerokits. The downforce swing is only about 300lbs but it’s easier to feel the rear of the car now.”
Asked if she would like to race at Texas Motor Speedway, Legge replied: “Yeah, of course. Any chance to race a fast car, I’ll take it! And again, Dale’s guys were front runners in Texas last year, so it would be a great opportunity.”
Coyne confirmed to Motorsport.com Monday evening that Legge is a contender for the seat, although a bank holiday in the UK meant that his talks with sponsor PaySafe, a British company, had been delayed 24 hours.
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