ATLANTIC STANDOUT KATHERINE LEGGE MAKES MOST OF OPPORTUNITY TO DRIVE BOTH CHAMP CAR AND FORMULA ONE CAR INDIANAPOLIS (October 18, 2005) -- Rising open-wheel racing star Katherine Legge proudly admitted to living out her lifelong dream this past...
ATLANTIC STANDOUT KATHERINE LEGGE MAKES MOST OF OPPORTUNITY TO DRIVE BOTH CHAMP CAR AND FORMULA ONE CAR
INDIANAPOLIS (October 18, 2005) -- Rising open-wheel racing star Katherine Legge proudly admitted to living out her lifelong dream this past season while competing in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. After completing a remarkable rookie Atlantic season that saw Legge become the first woman to win a major open-wheel event in North America, the talented British driver will get a chance to fulfill two more racing dreams over the next several weeks. Later this month, Legge will get a chance to drive a Formula One race car and in mid November she will strap in behind the wheel of a 750-horsepower Champ Car.
Legge, a 25-year-old native of Northampton, England, earned international recognition this past season as she posted three victories and five podium finishes for Polestar Racing Group on her way to a third-place finish in the Atlantic championship, North America's premier open-wheel driver development series. She burst onto the racing scene when she came from a seventh-place starting position to record a historic win on the streets of Long Beach in her very first Atlantic race in April. After becoming the first woman to claim an open-wheel racing victory since Desire Wilson won in an F1 Aurora series race at England's Brands Hatch circuit in 1980, Legge didn't stop there. She earned back-to-back Atlantic wins at Edmonton and San Jose to highlight a magical 2005 season.
As she eyes a return to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship to pursue the series title and the $2 million champion's Champ Car bonus in 2006, Legge hopes to continue her rapid growth as a driver with the upcoming opportunities to pilot both the Champ Car and the Formula One machine.
Just a few days after wrapping up third place in the Atlantic championship season standings, Legge accompanied Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven to the F1 Belgian Grand Prix in early September. Legge met with Paul Stoddart, chief of the Minardi F1 team, and the meeting led to a young racer's chance of a lifetime. The Minardi squad will test at Italy's Vallelunga road circuit just north of Rome from October 21-24. The team invited Legge to attend the session and offered up the opportunity to drive one of its high-tech Formula One cars.
As a reward for a job well done in Atlantics in 2005, PKV Racing of the Champ Car World Series has also agreed to let Legge showcase her skills in a Champ Car. The PKV team, also co-owned by Kalkhoven, served as the primary sponsor for Legge's #12 Atlantic entry this season. The squad will run Legge in one of its Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Champ Cars during a two-day, on-track session at California Speedway's road course, November 18-19.
"I'm really looking forward to driving both the F1 car and the Champ Car and I'm extremely grateful to both Paul Stoddart and Kevin Kalkhoven for giving me these great opportunities," said Legge. "These are the two most powerful and challenging cars to drive in the world. Growing up in England, it was always a goal of mine to drive a Formula One car. Now I've got my goals set on Champ Car and that's what I'm focused on, but it will be a tremendous opportunity to drive both cars and see how each one compares."
While Legge knows that she still has a lot more to learn before she's ready to make the jump into the Champ Car World Series, she also knows that her driving and her marketability can only benefit from some seat time in both an F1 steed and a turbocharged Champ Car.
"At the moment I'm just climbing the walls to get back into a car," said Legge. "Until I prove myself some more I know that both Champ Car and Formula One are out of my reach. I hope to be able to show more of my abilities with the chance to drive both the Champ Car and F1 car."
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship continues to be the premier open-wheel development series in North America. The championship is noted for its long history of graduating its stars into Champ Car competition and has helped produce past Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve. Current Champ Car competitors Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Ronnie Bremer are also established Atlantic graduates, along with 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year and 2003 Atlantic champ A.J. Allmendinger. For more information on the Atlantic series, please visit www.champcaratlantic.com.