TrueCar is empowering Woman of pressdog® Katherine Legge to return to American open-wheel racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. She will team with four-time Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais and Dagon Racing for 2012.
Marshall Pruett on Speed.com initially reported that Legge, a Woman of pressdog®, will join Bourdais at Dragon Racing, an on-again, off-again team headed by Jay Penske. Read it here. The IndyStar's Curt Cavin tweeted soon after that Lotus had confirmed the Legge/Bourdais/Dragon deal. The story was further confirmed by Racer.com here.
Legge is backed by TrueCar, whose website TrueCar.com offers car buying advice, including insights into fair pricing. Legge's sponsorship is part of multi-million-dollar "Women Empowered" racing initiative that will sponsor six women in 2012, including Legge's fellow Women of pressdog Shea Holbrook (Pirelli World Challenge), Ashley Freiberg (Star Mazda) and Shannon McIntosh (USF2000) along with Verena Mei (Rally America) and Emilee Tominovich (MX-5 Cup). TrueCar will support an all-female Baja 1000 team in 2012. (Read more.)
For Legge the sponsorship is the culmination of a year of effort. Legge returned to the U.S. last January after three years driving for Audi in the sportscar DTM, (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), a German sports car series that races primarily in Europe. Read what Legge said about her career last January here.
News release below ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 – Talented international driver Katherine Legge, the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America, will compete in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series for Dragon Racing.
Legge will drive the No. 6 entry for Dragon, with primary sponsorship from TrueCar. Her teammate will be four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais.
Both Legge and Bourdais will compete with Lotus power, as Dragon Racing was named as a factory team for the iconic sports car manufacturer that is one of three engine suppliers this season in INDYCAR.
The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season starts Sunday, March 25 at St. Petersburg, Fla, with the 101st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 as the marquee event of the schedule.
“I am very proud to be driving in the 2012 IndyCar Series for Lotus Dragon Racing , with the gracious support of my sponsor TrueCar,” Legge said. “Lotus, Dragon and TrueCar have put together an amazing programme that I have every faith will succeed and win races.
“Lotus has such a great heritage and racing background and will be an enormous strength to our program. I am very much looking forward to working with all of those involved, and I am excited to get out on track now alongside a fantastic teammate in Sebastien Bourdais.”
Legge is resuming her elite-level open-wheel racing career after three seasons as an Audi factory driver in the European-based DTM, the world’s top touring car series. She drove for Futurecom TME, Abt Lady Power and Team Rosberg during her three-year DTM career from 2008-10.
Legge, 31, achieved the greatest success of her career to date in North American open-wheel racing.
She won three races in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2005, becoming the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America. Legge then became the first woman to compete full time in the Champ Car World Series, in 2006, and was the first woman to lead a lap in that series.
Before coming to America for the first time in 2004, Legge built an impressive portfolio of success in many ultra-competitive European open-wheel series.
She became the first woman to win a pole in a British Formula Ford Zetec event, in 2000. She also earned pole position at Oulton Park in England during the 2002 Formula Renault season with a time quicker than the lap record set by eventual Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Those results helped her become the first woman to receive the prestigious British Racing Drivers’ Club “Rising Stars” honor in 2002.
Her successful 2005 season in Toyota Atlantic also led to a test late that year with the Minardi team in Formula One, the world’s most prestigious series.
Dragon Racing, owned by Jay Penske, is based in Los Angeles. The team made its IZOD IndyCar Series debut in 2007 as Luczo Dragon Racing and guided Raphael Matos to Rookie of the Year honors in 2009.
“I am extremely excited and proud to partner with Lotus Cars and TrueCar,” Penske said. “The combination of having the technical support of Lotus as a factory team, the financial backing of a game-changing company TrueCar as a primary sponsor and the unquestionable driving skills of Sebastien and Katherine makes us a force to be reckoned with in 2012.”