For the first time in ChicMoto history, we’re interviewing one of the many women we admire from the world of auto racing, Katherine Legge, the British-born Indy, Grace Autosport and Panoz DeltaWing Racing driver. We dive into her background, her most memorable victories, and what she learns from defeat – dive in.
ChicMoto is revving up this week with its very-first interview with an amazing female racer, Katherine Legge, who was kind enough to give us a bit of her time to rapid-fire 10 questions off. We asked her things that we thought you might be interested in, and some that we thought you would be interested in knowing – but never thought to ask. This will be the first female influencer we will be interviewing for this all-new ChicMoto Influencer Series where we chat-it-up with women in the auto and racing world to learn more about how they made it, what challenges they had and what advice they have for the rest of us.
Who is Katherine Legge?
Legge, 35, is a reputable and formidable force in the racing world. She premiered on the racing scene in 2001 and has been running strong ever since. Beginning her career in the U.K., where she’s also from, Legge raced in several, developmental open-wheel series in Britain, including Formula Three, Formula Renault and Formula Ford, before transitioning to the Toyota Atlantic Series. Since then she has raced IndyCar, IMSA, Formula E, and has been a factory driver for Audi racing DTM back in Europe. Last year, Legge announced her involvement with the Grace Autosport project to enter the 2016 Indianapolis 500 race. The team is set to be all-female, and has been assembled with females holding all the senior positions, starting with team principal, Beth Paretta, aerodynamicist and race engineer, Catherine Crawford, and design engineer, Jessica Rowe. The team has confirmed it has the support of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission and the team also announced that the project intends to help promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as a career path for young women, Autosport reported.
“It’s going to be a new initiative from the point of view there’s never been a team of all women before. There’s been female drivers, there’s been female engineers and I actually worked with Catherine in 2012 at Indy and with her now at Panoz DeltaWing, but never have all girls made up the entire team,” said Legge in her interview with Autosport.
“What we’re trying to do is make it a positive thing, get rid of the stigma of being a woman in motorsport and make it something that everybody is very proud of. It’s going to be very successful. So I’m very much looking forward to the challenge and seeing it turn from an idea and bloom into something very special.”
Obviously with a positive message, and the chutzpah to back it up like that, Legge is the ideal voice to share here on ChicMoto. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section! We’re listening…
10 Questions With Katherine Legge
CM: What were you like as a child? Were you cautious or a risk-taker? Is your family surprised that you’ve built a career in the racing world?
KL: I was a Tom Boy – loved adventure and risk. I don’t think my career choice is a surprise at all!
CM:When you first started off in racing, what was the turning point for you where you knew you were “in”, as they say?
KL: When I won my first Atlantic race in 2005. At that point I thought I had a shot, an opportunity at realizing my dream in racing.
CM: What was your biggest challenge or milestone in your racing career?
KL: Biggest challenge was in 2012 when I had the rug pulled out of my IndyCar deal… Milestone was in 2006, getting to drive an F1 car and a Champ car.
CM: As a female driver, what are some biggest changes in the racing world that you’ve seen come around? How have these changes impacted your experience as a racer?
KL: I think funding and opportunity are tough for everyone. Being taken seriously and getting opportunities with top equipment, as a female, is hard.
There are so many great drivers out there and being female is “unknown” to a lot of teams, so it’s sometimes just easier for them to go with a male driver option.
CM: What was your proudest victory? And what did you gain from it?
KL: That first Atlantic win. I gained confidence in my ability and support from team and people around me.
CM: What was your greatest defeat? And what did you learn from it?
KL: Losing the IndyCar ride. That time, I learnt not to be so trusting and to listen to my gut feelings.
CM: What advice would you give women interested in starting their own careers in the racing world?
KL: Commit 110 percent – and don’t give up. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do – so make sure you are committed or don’t try at all, as you will only be doing yourself, and other female drivers, a disservice.
If you can promise yourself that – that you will give it everything and not give up – then it’s time you should seek support and advice from “proper” people, keep your head down and work harder than you imagined possible.
CM: Do you think the racing world has adapted to having such strong female racers, like yourself?
KL: Yes, it’s not such an anomaly anymore. But it’s still different, so it’s getting better, but we are not there yet. I think the racing people have accepted it, but it’s those on the outside, and the periphery, who struggle with acceptance.
CM: Have you been supported by a mentor during your career? Who were / are they? And what value have they brought to your career?
KL: Yes, I have had a lot of great people behind my career… but nothing more important than the unconditional love and support of my family.
CM: Being a race car driver you have to know your car inside and out. ChicMoto was created with the idea of helping women learn more about the automotive industry to gain better confidence in what they were driving. In your opinion, what is the most important thing any person should know about their vehicle and why?
KL: How to check oil and tires. The basics and the need-to-know! Other stuff is more complex and can be taken care of at your local garage. If you have a basic idea of how stuff works, you are less likely to get duped!