British female racer Katherine Legge will make her Indianapolis 500 return in 2016 after being announced as the driver of a new all-female team that will compete in the 100th running of the historic event.
Beth Paretta, a former marketing director with STR Motorsports/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has set up Grace Motorsport, and has hired two-time Indy 500 starter Legge as the team’s designated driver, and has filled a number of other important positions in the team.
Catherine Crawford has been appointed aerodynamicist, while motorsports engineer Lauren Elkins, junior Design Engineer Jessica Rowe and public relations veteran Barbara Burns are also on board.
“This is a very visible campaign for women’s empowerment,” said Paretta. “Motor racing is one of the few sports where men and women can compete side by side and win.”
Legge believes the team will develop a path for young women to make a name in motorsport, with drivers, engineers and mechanics all able to show their worth.
“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,” said Legge.
“It’s going to be very successful. So I’m very much looking forward to the challenge to seeing it from the beginning, from an idea, kind of turn out and bloom into something very special.”
As well as running in next year’s Indy 500, the team are looking to expand into a full season entry into the IndyCar Series, and potentially into other forms of motorsport.