British driver Katherine Legge will return to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 2013 to complete Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s four-car line-up.
Legge, 42, did two seasons of Champ Car in 2006-2007, then joined the Dragon Racing Lotus IndyCar programme for 2012, grabbing her best Indy 500 finish that year in 22nd.
A year later Legge joined Schmidt Peterson – now Arrow McLaren – for a one-race deal and finished 26th at the 500.
Legge has also raced in the DTM, Formula E and NASCAR but has mostly been competing in the GT classes of IMSA between her last IndyCar start and now. In 2018 Legge was second in the GT class with Meyer Shank.
“I am thrilled to be back at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the biggest race in the world, the Indy 500,” said Legge, who will race the #44 car.
“Bobby gave me my first chance to win races for the team in the Jaguar I-PACE series a few years ago and it feels like a homecoming of sorts to be back with the team, especially seeing as I’m also very proud to be back with HPD in IMSA [with a Gradient Racing Acura, pictured below], and now in the IndyCar Series.
“Racing at Indy with an Indy 500-winning team and with Honda is an amazing opportunity, and one I am very grateful for and intend to make the most of.
“I’m hoping I can learn from my team-mates and team members, and transition smoothly back to open wheel racing for May. I can’t wait to get to work!”
Team owner Bobby Rahal added: “After more than a few attempts, I’m happy to announce that Katherine will join us in our Hendrickson Honda for the 107th running of the Indy 500.
“I’ve been a fan of Katherine’s for many years and know that, in the right situation, she can be competitive and figure into the outcome at the end of the race.
“She has driven for us before in the Jaguar electric programme and won from pole in Mexico City and finished on the podium several times, so it is nice to have her back with us to work together at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.
“I know she looks at this as a chance to show everybody what she really can do.”
Rahal won the 500 in 2020 with Takuma Sato (pictured above), who moved on to Dale Coyne in 2022 and now to Ganassi for 2023. Graham Rahal had a realistic chance at winning the 2021 race before a wheel came off after a pitstop miscue. RLLR’s best Indy 500 result last year was 14th with Rahal.
Legge gets the team’s Indy 500-only seat after it had been initially linked to 2014 winner and 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who may still figure in the 2023 event.
Legge IMSA 2023 pictures copyright LAT Images
How the 2023 Indy 500 entry is shaping up
The key questions remaining for the 500 now surround who will drive the second Dreyer & Reinbold entry, and if AJ Foyt will field a third car.
Chevrolet-powered Dreyer & Reinbold has signed a deal with Cusick Motorsport, which Stefan Wilson drives for, and its other car will not be driven by Sage Karam despite the Pennsylvania native’s impressive seventh place in 2021 and his seven straight starts in the event with the team.
JR Hildebrand – The Race IndyCar Podcast co-host – raced for Dreyer & Reinbold from 2018-2020, while Hunter-Reay is also in contention for that seat.
Dreyer & Reinbold – one of the few remaining Indy 500-only teams – has finished in the top 10 with at least one car in the last two events.
Foyt has all the equipment to field a third entry at the 500 but doesn’t quite have enough people to run it. It may be encouraged to enter to fill the event’s famous 33-car grid, as it currently sits at 32 with 17 Honda entries and 15 Chevrolet entries. Foyt is a Chevy team.
2023 Indy 500 grid so far
(32 cars, 17 Honda, 15 Chevrolet)
AJ Foyt Racing: Santino Ferrucci, Benjamin Pedersen
Andretti Autosport: Marco Andretti, Devlin DeFrancesco, Romain Grosjean, Colton Herta, Kyle Kirkwood
Arrow McLaren: Tony Kanaan, Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Alexander Rossi
Chip Ganassi Racing: Takuma Sato, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Alex Palou
Dale Coyne Racing: David Malukas, Sting Ray Robb
Dreyer & Reinbold: Stefan Wilson, TBC
Ed Carpenter Racing: Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay
Juncos Hollinger Racing: Agustin Canapino, Callum Ilott
Meyer Shank Racing: Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Jack Harvey, Katherine Legge, Christian Lundgaard, Graham Rahal
Team Penske: Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Will Power