Focused – Katherine Legge

Talking with Katherine Legge you will realize some key qualities needed in every driver. She has a technical understanding of a race car, conducts herself in a professional yet relaxed manner and has an intent level of focus to get the absolute best out of the car, team and herself.

Mecca of Speed: This is your fourth season with the DeltaWing project. One of the most notable evolutions was from the roadster to coupe configuration. How did that change things from a driver’s perspective?

Katherine Legge: The technology that came with putting the roof on changed the weight distribution, down force levels etc. It’s safer and more aerodynamic but it does get hotter in the car.  Safety wise it’s a step in the right direction and where everybody thinks we should be. Dr. Panoz is big on safety.

Big picture is to have every technology advancement completed and ready for the road car, which is the most important aspect of this project.

Mecca of Speed: Where else have improvement been made to the car?

Katherine Legge: Everywhere, we have changed the differential and the gearbox. The gearbox weighs more now, but that was required for the amount of power we currently have. The engine is a constant work in progress and it’s really strong. Working with the Elan guys at Panoz has been amazing.

We have changed the front and rear suspension, geometry, windscreen, and brakes. There is literally no component on that car that has remained the same from the original car.

Mecca of Speed: As the car evolved over the past few seasons, has the front gotten shorter or is that just the change in appearance in the couple configuration?

Katherine Legge: It may be the bodywork, but I don’t think anything has changed chassis wise.

Mecca of Speed: With the DeltWing configuration it appears that you sit in the center of the car. Does that help with feel when cornering as you pivot the car on its’ axis?

Katherine Legge: We do sit in the center of the car but it doesn’t change the feel compared to a traditional car. It is easier to get in and out of compared to the other prototypes. You can get in one side and out the other so driver changes are easier.

Mecca of Speed: At Detroit you had the opportunity to drive a prototype for MSR (Michael Shank Racing). Next season IMSA is transitioning to the DPI chassis, which has similarities to the chassis that MSR runs. How do you thing the DeltaWing will compare to the DPI next season?

Katherine Legge: I don’t know what is happening with this team next year. That is a Don Panoz question and he is not here this weekend. It’s getting to that time in the season, normally the end of August when everybody is deciding what they are doing for next season. We have no word yet on next season.

The DPI car is built for all types of track and it’s really an evolution of the DP car. It’s an emogolation of a DP car and an LMP car. It’s a really cool concept and I hope things work out as planned. I think the plan to have different body work for each manufactures will be good for the series.

Mecca of Speed: With the smaller surface area and low profile do you find any challenges being seen or getting through the GT traffic?

Katherine Legge: For the most part everybody is used to seeing us now, but in the beginning when we were chrome they did have a little bit of difficulty seeing us. The car is different and not really what you are expecting to see in your mirrors.

It’s easier to overtake some cars compared to others depending on the corner and where we can go off line. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Mecca of Speed: You have put the car out front at Road America and Daytona. Are there any tracks that play to the DeltaWing’s strengths?

Katherine Legge: Tracks with long straights and tight corners, like here. The problem is with the BoP (Balance of Performance) we were great at Daytona and then they BoPed us back a bit. It’s really a moving target.

Any place we can go in a straight line and then stop plays to us. We take off, stop and do tight corners really well. We don’t have the same level of down force as the other cars so that is where we struggle.

Mecca of Speed: You have always been very close to your parents. After your accident in The Kink during the ChampCar race here your first priority was to call your Dad and let him know you were ok. Can you speak about your bond between you and your parents?

Katherine Legge: My racing career has been as much my career as it’s been my Dad’s career as he is the one that got me involved in karting. He comes to all my races. He is the one that I call at 2:00 in the morning and listens to me when I’m not happy about something.

I’m very close with both my parents. My mom is coming over for Petite Le Mans.

I don’t want my Dad to worry regardless if I am a child or an adult, now in my mid 30 when I’m in an accident.  The thought of my Dad thinking I’m dead due to an accident is horrific. My first thought was to tell him I’m ok because I don’t want him thinking anything bad. That’s the same now or if I was sixty years old, it would not be any different.

Mecca of Speed: Based on your Instagram posts you seem to be looking for a dog.

Katherine Legge: Lucy (PR Manager) and I are 50/50 on who would take it. We have already picked the name, Bruno. It’s just not sensible for us right now. We are both big on animal rights and would like to rescue not one but hundreds of dogs. But with us traveling so much, unless there was a second home during the season for him it would be unfair to the dog. Dogs deserve a forever home that is there for them all the time.

Mecca of Speed: You seem to be very passionate about various causes; do you consider yourself any type of activist?

Katherine Legge: No, but I think if you have a voice then you should use it in a good way. I am a vegetarian and try not to eat any animals, but I also believe everybody has a right to choose what they want.

I have my beliefs, but I’m not going to force them on anyone.

Mecca of Speed: When you transitioned to racing in the U.S. with Pole Star in the Atlantic series how did they help you with adjusting to a new culture?

Katherine Legge: They made it amazing for me. The welcomed me into their home and their lives, it was awesome. They helped me stay ultra-focused and giving 110% on racing.

Mecca of Speed: Who has helped you grow as a driver or a professional in this sport?

Katherine Legge: I’m really good friends with A.J. Almedinger. If I ever had something I had questions about I would ask him.

Justin Wilson was always someone who I could go to and everything he would say was really honest and absolutely dead right. He would do his ultimate to help me. Him and A.J. are two of the people I would go to.

I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody and for that I apologize.

Mecca of Speed: With someone not familiar with the DeltaWing family can you explain what Kate Crawford means to this team?

Katherine Legge: She is an integral part of our team. We were defiantly on an upswing until she got sick and we are struggling a little without her. But more important for us is that she gets better and is able to come back and again be an integral part of this team.

She is one of those awesome people who is so positive that you are more positive just from being around he. She makes you a better person and has defiantly made me better as a person.

We saw her when she came to a test we had at Road Atlanta. She is such a strong lady and she said she is determined to beat it and be back with us.

Mecca of Speed: We have a questing from one of our readers Kaitlin H., she wants to know what is your favorite corner at Road America?

Katherine Legge: Hmmm, Turn 5.

Mecca of Speed: Taking IMSA and DeltWing off the table what would be your dream team to race for?

Katherine Legge: There are so many things I would like to achieve in my career that is a hard question. I think I would just like to be part of a competitive team in a series with a chance to win.

Mecca of Speed: While you have a long career yet ahead of you, do you have any prospects after your time behind the wheel?

Katherine Legge: That’s so stressful. I’m just going to drive until I’m too old to drive and then try to get a TV job.

Content credit Katherine Legge and John Vatne. Photo credit John Vatne.

8/26/2016