Katherine Legge made history during the inaugural Formula E season in 2014/15, becoming the all-electric race series’s first female driver. A native of Guildford, England, Legge was recently announced as the first driver to join the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, a support series to Formula E, set to begin in conjunction with the 2018/19 season.
Legge, whose background includes Formula 3, Formula Renault, a Formula One test, Champ Car, IndyCar, A1GP, DTM, Formula E, and sports car racing, talked about her decision to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s team ahead of the inaugural I-PACE eTROPHY season.
What does it mean to be the first driver as part of the new Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series?
Honestly, it’s very cool to be the first driver announced. It’s cool to be driving for a British brand with so much influence and tech in the marketplace. It’s a global series with road courses, which are very close to my heart. I won my first race in North America on a street course. I just really like them. I think bringing the race to the people is key.
What does it mean to be the first female driver as part of this series?
It’s 2018; it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. This proves it doesn’t. I think (RLL co-owner) Bobby (Rahal) chose me on merit. In my world, I’m a race car driver and it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female—the car won’t know the difference.
Why did you get involved in this new electric series?
I got the opportunity to race the I-PACE with Bobby and it sounded like a really cool project. I have my other driving duties as well so it complements that. It’s very neat that a lot of drivers can do both; they can do normal race series then electric racing, so we’re busy all year round.
My focus isn’t about what series, but it’s having competitive equipment to go on and win races. You don’t get where you want to go by taking any ride, you have to be picky and decide which will give you the best opportunity to go out and win.
You had two races in Formula E for (Team) Aguri in 2014/15; how much can you learn from that experience?
It’s going to be different for sure. I’ve driven everything across the board so I’m pretty adaptable. It’s still going to be a learning curve because in engine racing, you learn how to save fuel, but in Formula E, you’re regenerating power via batteries so it’s a different strategy.
The I-PACE eTROPHY series is supposed to complement the Formula E schedule. Which races are you looking forward to the most?
I have looked at the calendar. I really hope they do the Hainan Island race (in Sanya, China) because it’s supposed to be beautiful, so that would be a good one. All of them are really exciting venues in downtown city streets. It’s cool to experience different cultures and places. There isn’t anywhere I’m not looking forward to.
You’ve raced all around the world and currently live in Atlanta. How important is Formula E to an American audience?
The future is electric; it’s definitely going more in that direction. To get in on that at this stage is definitely really cool. We’re still developing the tech and you want to be part of a movement, if you like. I don’t think that NASCAR is ever going away as is IndyCar and sports car series. This is just an addition, a really cool addition; I don’t think it’s replacing anything.
In America you have so much choice – baseball, basketball, football, hockey – and racing is competing with a lot of other family friendly sports. In my opinion this adds to it and it’s a different demographic of person – there’s no reason you can’t be a NASCAR driver and Formula E driver.