Sponsorship notwithstanding, Katherine Legge’s best shot at racing this year in IndyCar with Dragon Racing doesn’t look like it will happen. According to reports late today, Sebastian Saavedra has been signed to drive the second car of owner Jay Penske, completing Dragon Racing’s lineup that includes veteran driver Sebastien Bourdais (source: Racer).
Katherine looked to be the other candidate for Jay Penske heading into the 2013 season. Legge was with Jay last year during a debacle of a season that saw the two team cars have to shrink to one with two drivers (source: Yahoo Sports) after a second Chevrolet engine couldn’t be secured following a bad legal split with failing Lotus.
It was thought that TrueCar was sticking with Legge, which in-turn would give her leverage for a ride with Penske or someone else. But now that doesn’t look to be the case as TrueCar is putting their backing behind Dragon Racing. Legge seemed devastated with a Tweet on Twitter stating she would have a statement shortly.
Originally from England, the 32 year old Legge had showed some promise back in ’05, becoming the first woman to win an open wheel race in North America while competing in the Toyota Atlantic series. She would go on to win two more races that year and finished third overall. She moved over to ChampCar before the series merged with IndyCar, accumulating six Top 10s over the course of two seasons. However, like many drivers of the era, the merger eliminated several rides and Legge had to go back to Europe where she drove in the popular German Touring Series (DTM).
The 22 year old Saavedra drove for Andretti Autosport in the Indy Lights series. The young Columbian had 16 podiums in 38 events over three seasons in Indy Lights and has been considered one of the up-and-coming drivers in American open wheel. He does have experience in IndyCar with a total of 19 appearances, mainly driving for Conquest Racing and Eric Bachelart. Saavedra never finished in the Top 10 in IndyCar.
Saavedra has some associate sponsorship from his native Columbia and that likely helped him win this ride. Said Saavedra afterwards,
“I’m extremely excited on this new chapter in my life and very thankful to everyone who made it a reality.”
Hopefully, there will be leniency with the two names of Sebastien and Sebastian for all concerned.