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Legge on IndyCar return: “Deer in headlights”, then “comfortable”

Katherine Legge says she was “in awe” of the speed of an IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway after her first test with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, but then started to relax.

Katherine Legge, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Following last weekend’s second round of the 2023 IndyCar Series at TMS, the Honda-powered team co-owned by Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan stayed on to give Legge her speedway refresher test. RLL is entering a fourth car for her at next month’s 107th running of the Indianapolis 500, 10 years after her last IndyCar race, the 2013 Indy 500 in which she drove for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (now Arrow McLaren).

Legge said that in preparation for the test she had been working on “upper body strength, core strength and neck strength,” as well as learning all the cockpit buttons “which are totally different” from when she last raced. She also spent a day in the simulator, half for Texas, half on Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Regarding the mandated refresher test, Legge stated: “It was really good to do that without too many other cars on track. There was only the other team car on track [driven by Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist].

Katherine Legge, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Katherine Legge, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“It was good to learn the structure of the team, how the team works on a race weekend, get to know my team-mates and integrate myself a little. Just from a learning perspective, to see how things progress throughout a race gives you an oversight and a bigger level of comfort going into my own race at Indy. I think the test was great for so many different reasons.

“For me personally, it was really good to get back in the car and shake off the cobwebs, gain confidence and learn all the procedural things like pitstops and buttons. And to get back in during a low-pressure, low-stress environment.

“It was really important for me to build a strong foundation for this year’s Indy 500, which means doing every step of the way progressively, professionally and building it block by block. So I approached it methodically. I wasn’t out to prove myself in the first couple of runs, but it came back very quickly, which also builds confidence. I felt very comfortable in the car after a couple of runs, so I think that’s a testament to the team and how they performed as well.

“My first thought when I left pitlane was ‘Wow, I do not remember it being this fast!’ I was in awe of how incredible it was and what a feeling it is. It did not hold though, as you get comfortable relatively quickly. But even on the last runs of the day, you still have a healthy respect for how fast Texas really is and you’re still in awe of the speed at which these cars can run. But you feel a little more relaxed at knowing you have the capability of doing it. At the beginning it’s very much like being a deer in headlights, but it soon comes back.

“I think the test went really well. I think the team are happy and that we made some strides forward with both myself and also the car.  Hopefully we can take some of that and it will translate at the Indy open test [April 20-21].

“We’re also on the simulator before the test so there is yet more time to prepare. There will be more debriefs, meetings and pre-event reports. And then we'll get back on track for two days to continue to learn before opening day for the Indy 500.  I’m looking forward to every bit of it.”

Katherine Legge, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Katherine Legge, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

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