British racer becomes first female driver for new global electric race series
British racer Katherine Legge has become the first female driver and the 11th in total to be confirmed to race in the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship after signing for the newly rebranded Amlin Aguri Formula E team.
The 34-year-old former Champ Car racer becomes the first of the team’s two drivers to be announced which has since changed its name from Super Aguri following a new sponsorship deal with leading independent insurance company Amlin.
Legge joins previously confirmed drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi at Audi Sport Abt, Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari at Virgin Racing, Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok at Mahindra Racing, Nick Heidfeld and Stéphane Sarrazin at Venturi, Franck Montagny at Andretti Autosport and Jarno Trulli at TrulliGP.
After rising through the junior single-seater ranks, in 2005 Legge competed in the Toyota Atlantic Championship winning the series opener at Long Beach and ending the season third overall. Later that year she made history by becoming the first woman to test a Formula 1 car since Sarah Fisher (2002) with Minardi. The following year she signed to drive in the 2006 Champ Car season and became the first woman to lead a lap in the series' history. After a second year she switched to the DTM series enjoying seasons with Futurecom TME and Abt Sportsline. In 2012, Legge moved to the States to make her IndyCar debut, remaining in the US for a second season although this time competing in the American Le Mans Series.
Legge said: “For me this is a really exciting opportunity. The car is fantastic, it looks amazing and it will be very quick. Racing through the streets of the world’s leading cities will be an incredible experience and I think it’s a great chance to bring racing to the people. We will be driving in their cities on their streets.” Team Principal Mark Preston said: “Amlin’s corporate expertise and our racing experience makes for a potent combination. Formula E will be a very exciting and demanding championship and I think it brings an interesting new dimension to the sport. This is as much about strategy as it is about driving fast – its playing chess at 220 km/h.”
Charles Philipps, CEO of Amlin, said: “Amlin has always been focused on developing winning strategies using a combination of experience, expertise and data analysis - and this skill is equally applicable to insurance and motor racing. We are serious about racing and serious about winning.”
Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric race series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans, whilst accelerating the interest in electric vehicles and promoting sustainability. Competing entirely on city-centre circuits – with races in China, Malaysia, Uruguay, Argentina, US, Monaco, Germany and the UK – it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). Its 10 teams feature some of the leading international names in motorsport including Alain Prost and Michael Andretti, along with high-profile environmental supporters including Sir Richard Branson.
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Katherine to the FIA Formula E Championship and also Amlin who have shown their commitment to sustainable mobility and to the FIA’s new all-electric race series. It’s fantastic to have our first female driver too and we very much hope she is the first of many to join the championship.”