Legge is in town exploring the possibility of returning to American racing for the first time since 2008 when she left the Champ Car World Series.
Legge, 30, began her career karting in the UK. Her experience includes UK Formula Ford, Formula Renault UK Winter Series, Formula Renault UK Championship, British Formula 3 Championship, and Formula Renault North America Championship.
In 2005 she was third in points in the Champ Car Atlantics feeder series, then spent 2006 and 2007 in the Champ Car World Series before returning to Europe for the 2008 racing season. Since then, Legge has driven for an Audi team in DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Master), a German sports car series that races primarily in Europe.
DTM tracks include historic layouts of Nürburgring, Hockenheim and Brands Hatch. “It’s a very good series. Unfortunately they haven’t come to America yet, but I think they are planning to do that. That will be definitely one to watch. The cars are so technologically advanced. The factory support they receive from both Audi, Mercedes and with BMW coming in, it’s really quite impressive.”
The 2011 DTM season starts in May. Legge wouldn’t say if her exploration of IndyCar meant she was leaving DTM.
“Again, it’s difficult to answer that politically correctly,” Legge said. “All it means is that looking and I have interest in IndyCar and we’ll see. I can’t say too much at the moment. You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks and then everything will become clear.”
Legge only spent about a year back in her native England before moving to Switzerland to be closer to the Audi team and to learn German, but she said she's cleared out her apartment there and will be in Indy for at least another few weeks.
“My teammate Oliver Jarvis in DTM and I were both sent to Audi Academy to learn German. I can speak ein bisshen Deutsche (a little German)," she said. "I learned enough to get by and I understand nearly all of it and I can speak it pretty well now. Doesn’t really help over here though."
There were a lot of adjustments in going from a Lola-built Champ Car to a German sports car in 2008, Legge said.
“The first one is, obviously you couldn’t see the front wheels to see if they were locking and so on,” she said. “It was a big heavy car, not so much power and really, really advanced technically. And they do things very differently over there. I hadn’t been racing in Europe for a while so it was a bit of an adjustment going back to the European way of doing things, but yeah, just different.”
Born in Guildford, England, located southwest of London, Legge broke into American racing with the help of Champ Car World Series boss Kevin Kalkhoven. She misses a lot of things about the U.S.
“I missed the racing, some of the tracks we went to,” she said. “I missed the big car. I missed my friends mostly, and the people involved. I missed Kevin Kalkhoven and his family a lot. It was my home and I still feel somewhat at home here when I come back. It’s like coming home. It’s really nice. I made friends here that will be friends for life and that’s really important. That doesn’t happen everywhere.”
Legge said she’s looking at IndyCar now in part because of its growth over the past year.
“I think it’s an exciting series to be part of for any driver,” she said. “I think it will be great in 2012 when the new cars come out. To be involved in it then you’ll need some oval experience and experience in the current car. So I’m evaluating the option.”
The prospect of returning to Indy where she was based during her Atlantics and Champ Car years is both exciting and nostalgic. Legge said she often thinks of the days when she famously staked out Kalkhoven at his office at Cosworth until he agreed to speak with her, a meeting that led to her Atlantics ride.
“It does seem like a long time ago,” she said. “It’s still the same now. If you want to get anything done or want anything bad enough you make it happen. And the only way to do that is to by doing crazy things and opening doors. I miss Kevin and his family because they are the ones who made Katherine Legge. They gave me the opportunity and I will always be so grateful to him for that. He was the big guy in my life who made it all possible. I still think about those times when I was sat Cosworth.”
By virtue of this interview, Legge becomes a Woman of pressdog® and raises at least the prospect that we'll have some proper SCREAMED GERMAN in IndyCar soon. Follow Katherine on Twitter @KatherineLegge.
Katherine's biggest moment in ChampCar came in September 24, 2006, when she lost a rear wing at Road America sending her car flipping violently into the wall. pressdog race notes of that Road America race here. YouTube crash recap: