LEGGE COMPLETES TWO-DAY EVALUATION WITH PKV RACING
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - DECEMBER 21, 2005 - - Rising open-wheel star Katherine Legge completed a two-day evaluation with PKV Racing today at Sebring Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
Legge ran a total of 238 laps (119 each day) on the 1.66-mile Sebring road circuit, December 20-21. She ran in cool and overcast conditions on the first day and very chilly (temperatures in the 50's) and overcast conditions today, but still managed to post very competitive times.
"It was an awesome experience," Legge began. "I have to give a huge thanks to both PKV Racing and (team co-owner) Kevin Kalkhoven for this opportunity," she said. "We did a lot of laps and some pretty long runs and I came away from the experience knowing I did my very best," she concluded.
Commenting on the test PKV Racing General Manager Jim McGee said, "Katherine did a very good job. On the first day she ran quite a few miles and after she got comfortable with the car we tried some different things. The second day we did some long, full-tank runs. Overall, her times were competitive."
This is just the second time Legge has driven a Champ Car. On December 13 the talented and determined 25-year-old Briton got some seat time with Rocketsports Racing running 70 laps at Sebring. Legge, who earned three victories last year in her rookie Atlantic season and placed third overall in the in the standings, became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America when she captured her debut Atlantic event in Long Beach. Her strong showing in the Atlantic's also earned her a Formula One test for Minardi and an A1 Grand Prix test for Team Great Britain in November.
This is the second driver evaluation test in as many weeks for PKV Racing, which is seeking anywhere from zero to two drivers for 2006. In addition to Legge's test, the team tested Ryan Briscoe, Ryan Dalziel and Giorgio Pantano at Sebring on December 12-14. PKV Racing continues to have discussions with Cristiano da Matta, who piloted the #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine during the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, about returning. Also in the mix is a decision, in consultation with co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit, by team co-owner and driver Jimmy Vasser, who was behind the wheel of the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry last year, about possibly resigning his Champ Car seat. All of the above will be taken into consideration before PKV Racing's driver line-up is announced.
Pettit, who along with Vasser was present at both PKV Racing Sebring tests (Kalkhoven attended both days of the Legge test) said, "Katherine did a good job during her two-day test for PKV Racing. She ran a lot of miles and her results were competitive. At this time PKV Racing is not ready to make a decision on our driver line-up for the 2006 season. We have a lot of information and data to evaluate, which we will do in a careful, conscientious and business like manner. We will take all the time we need to make a decision that is best for the team now and in the future."
Commenting on the test Vasser said, "Katherine did a great job and she's definitely not afraid to push the car to the limit. We all watched her race last year in Atlantics and we knew that she was a good driver, but until you work with someone you don't truly know how determined they are. After these last two days, one thing I know for sure now is that she has a tremendous amount of determination. Katherine has the talent to compete at this level."
The 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season was the best in PKV Racing history. The team established a number of team records in its third year of operation. Among them: Vasser earned the team's highest season ending finish, placing sixth; da Matta scored the team's first victory winning in Portland (round #4), while Vasser earned the team's first pole in round #3 at Milwaukee. The two drivers also combined to set team records for best combined qualifying, first and fourth at Milwaukee and best combined finish, first and sixth at Portland. They both qualified in the top-five twice (Milwaukee and Las Vegas, Vasser -- third, da Matta -- fourth) and in the top-10 in a team record 11 races (in 13 attempts); including a team record six consecutive races. Da Matta and Vasser finished in the top-10 in the same race three times (eighth/10th at Long Beach; first/sixth, Portland and sixth/seventh, Montreal) and at least one of them placed in the top-six in nine of the 13 events including five consecutive races (the streak ended in Edmonton), which is also a team record.
Founded in January 2004, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing (PK Racing was established in 2003 with a different ownership group) will contest its third season of competition during the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. PKV Racing is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven, who also co-owns the Champ Car World Series, and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser. The team is managed by Jim McGee who joined the team as General Manager in January of 2005. McGee is the most successful Manager/Chief Mechanic in USAC/CART/Champ Car history having amassed 90 victories and nine national championships.
For more information please visit: www.pkvracing.com or www.gulfstream.com