Legge, 25, began her motorsport career as a simple hobby in 1990. After her father took her as a nine-year old to a go-karting event in Spain, she became hooked and the rest is history. For the next ten years, Legge and her father went go-kart racing every weekend. During that time, Legge won multiple British karting championships.
At the age of 19 Legge was ready for a change so she made the move from go-karts to cars and has never looked back. Since then, she has risen through the ranks, achieving many firsts along the way. She was the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America with her victory in Long Beach in 2005. She also received the British Racing Drivers Club “Rising Star” accolade in 2002. Additionally, she won a pole position in the British Formula Ford Zetec Series in 2000. Currently, Legge competes full-time for PKV Racing in the Champ Car World Series, participating in 15 events throughout 2006.
Thus far in 2006, after competing in seven events, Legge’s best finish was sixth place in the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 in Milwaukee on June 4. She has also had two eighth-place finishes on April 9 in Long Beach and June 25 in Cleveland.
Why does she participate in a grueling sport, not to mention a male-dominated one? In a word, she is passionate about racing.
Her obvious enthusiasm for the sport is felt as soon as she opens her mouth, complete with a charming English accent. When asked what makes her good at what she does, Legge did not hesitate to answer. “I think determination and dedication,” she said. “You want it so bad. It’s what I’m passionate about.”
Her passion is apparent and also a must in what is a predominantly male sport. Even though Legge is the only current female driver in the Champ Car Series, she says there are other women that are up and coming in the ranks. Even so, she said she has not experienced any problems with the men on the racing circuit.
“I have never known anything different,” she said when asked about being the only woman racing against only men. “I’ve always been the only girl. I’m not treated any differently. It is more equal over here (The United States) than back home.”
“Home” for Legge is England. She was born in Guilford, Surrey and currently divides her time between Syresham in Northhamptonshire and Indianapolis in America. In 2005, her first full season of professional racing, she recorded three wins, including her first event in Long Beach, followed by back-to-back wins in Edmonton and San Jose. In addition, she finished second at Road America and third at Portland. The Long Beach win gave Legge the honor of winning Southern California’s “Top 2005 Racing Moment of the Year” award which is voted on by the public.
Legge will participate in this year’s 2006 Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver which is themed Life in the Fast Lane. Her goals for the race are the same they have been all year – to finish in the top ten, to finish in the same lap as the leader, and to be named the top rookie.
The Champ Car World Series is an international, world-class professional sport that delivers tremendous value to global sponsors. With a focus on successful urban market delivery, Champ Car racing takes racing to the people – through the downtown streets of places like Denver, Long Beach, Toronto, and Australia, to name a few. The Champ Car Series is considered by many to be the most physically challenging and technologically diverse series in motor sports. Its primary audience is young, affluent, and culturally diverse that is nearly three million strong. Most of the sport’s participants are prosperous as well. Most -- but not all -- as in Legge’s case. In fact, not having a lot of money is what hurt Legge in the early days.
“When I first started, I did what I could,” she said. “The limiting factor was money. I didn’t have the money to gain the experience.”
So what did she do? “I taught myself,” she said.
Determination has served Legge well, knowing she has had no formal training and very little money, but has still managed to be successful in an extremely demanding, male-dominated sport. She finds great satisfaction in fighting the battle that has, at times, been all uphill.
What, then, could possibly motivate someone in Legge’s position to continue racing, where the odds have been stacked against her? Once again, the answer is simple.
“Winning and proving myself to be the best,” she explained. “It’s a challenge, but I know I can do it. I love driving a car.”
And Legge will have the opportunity to do just that when she hits the streets with the rest of the drivers for the Grand Prix of Denver. The Grand Prix is a week-long festival filled with racecars, motorcycles, action sports, rock 'n' roll, and street parties.
Along with Montreal, Mexico
City, and Australia’s Gold Coast, Denver is one of only 15 host cities
in the Champ Car World Series. Hailed as one of the best events on the circuit,
the Grand Prix of Denver brings the city international acclaim, as well as
world-renowned racers and some of today’s most sophisticated racecars.
The Grand Prix of Denver drivers race in a single seater (commonly called open-wheel) racing car, powered by a turbocharged, eight-cylinder Ford-Cosworth XFE engine. The cars are capable of producing more than 750 horsepower and travel at speeds of up to 230 miles per hour. For much of their history Champ Cars have been similar to Formula One cars, although there are several key differences between the two. The series consists of three types of race track venues: ovals, temporary street circuits, and permanent road courses, making it the most the most versatile and demanding schedule of any racing series.
New to this year’s race is all-grandstand seating and a VIP Pit Row section. This will provide fans with the option of remaining in one place or moving around the circuit to enjoy on-track action. In addition, more track-side viewing than ever before will be offered. General admission tickets start at $8 per person and reserved tickets start at $89.
To purchase tickets or for more information, visit: