Making her first start in the Indianapolis 500 in 2013, Katherine Legge returns to the Speedway after a decade-long absence. Legge returns with Rahal Letterman-Lanigan in the No. 44 Hendrickson Honda.
During her time away from the IndyCar series, Legge spent her time racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar series driving GT cars and even a prototype entry, Formula E, and even made three NASCAR Xfinity starts in 2018. Legge now competes full time in the GTD category in IMSA, driving for Gradient Racing in the No. 66 Acura NSX GT3.
Legge joins an RLL team that features multi-time winner Graham Rahal, former F2 product Christian Lungaard, and England’s Jack Harvey. Rahal has raced in the race 14 times, but every driver at RLL brings experience for Legge to bounce off of.
“They all bring something different to the table and they’re very helpful, very kind and I’m sure I’ve asked a bunch of stupid questions,” Legge said. “Between the experience of the team, it’s been a really easy and smooth transition so far. It’s things like the pit stops and the in-laps and out-laps that I need to work on. The actual driving has been relatively smooth up until this point.”
In order to prepare for her return to Indianapolis, Legge participated in a test at Texas Motor Speedway on April 3. IndyCars in 2013 are vastly different than 2013, and the feeling of being in the cockpit of an IndyCar was new yet again.
“It was totally alien to me honestly, because it’s been so long,” Legge said. “The car is so different especially with the aeroscreen and different wheel, different everything pretty much.”
Legge also spent some time using the simulator to prepare as well. Various race car drivers will use a driving simulator to simulate what a track will be like using a service like IRacing to simulate driving their cars.
“So for me, I struggle a little bit with the correlation, but the ones they have now are so realistic that it was good,” Legge said. “It was like a test before the test. The team did a lot of work on the car and we tried to do some testing in the sim that we will then translate and put on the car so hopefully it helps.”
Track time is also going to be important to shake off the cobwebs for Legge. In 2023, there will be nine different practice sessions for the 107th Indy 500, which gives Legge plenty of opportunities to figure out the car.
“We’ve got a lot of test items to get through,” Legge said on Tuesday. “I’ve got a lot of personal test items to get through. The more time we get, the better, even though it seems like a lot goes on really quickly.”
If she makes the race, Legge will be the only female in the field, the first since Simona De Silvestro in 2021. Legge has 39 IndyCar starts and while not driving in the series full-time, is still not a slouch in an open wheel car.