Katherine Legge. Photo courtesy Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Katherine Legge joins Rahal team for 2018-19 Formula E support series effort

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As the 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Series season comes to an end this weekend in New York City, things are quickly ratcheting up for a new support series that will debut later this fall in conjunction with and when the 2018-19 Formula E season kicks off.

One of those leading the charge will be Rahal Letterman Lanigan, which announced Friday that one of its two drivers in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Series next season will be noted female racer Katherine Legge.

Legge will team with a still-unnamed second driver for the RLL entry in the all-electric racing series. The livery Legge will drive will be unveiled during this weekend’s New York E-Prix season-ending activities.

“I am very proud to be driving in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Formula E series for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” Legge said in a media release. “I have followed Formula E since its inception and have been very impressed with the growth in the electric car market and electric racing as a whole.

“I have also wanted to drive for Bobby (team co-owner Bobby Rahal) for the past 10 years or more, so this for me is the realization of a dream. Driving for a British brand like Jaguar on a global stage and ‘racing to innovate’ sounds like the best kind of challenge to me. I’m excited!”

It’s been roughly nine months since RLL announced that it would take part in the I-Pace eTrophy series – the world’s first production-based, street-legal electric vehicle racing series – last November.

“This program has been a year in the making and this weekend is a big milestone for us,” added Rahal.  “I’m very impressed with the communication we have had with Jaguar and how things are progressing in England.

“To a person, we are all excited to get going and go racing. We are also very proud to unveil the livery of our two-car team. Being an American-based team now racing around the world, we all felt it would be important to compete under our national colors and we think the I-Pace eTrophy really looks great in red, white and blue. It will be obvious where we are from when people see our cars.”

Now with the 38-year-old Legge – a native of Guildford, United Kingdom – on board, the RLL team is expected to announce its second driver during the series’ first test session in September in the United Kingdom.

“I have known Katherine for a number of years and have always been impressed with her capabilities and how she handles herself,” Rahal said. “She did a great job in Formula Atlantic, IndyCar and now in sports car racing and I think she will do very well for us in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy series.

“We have spoken about working together for a number of years and I’m pleased to finally be able to put a program together.”

The I-Pace eTrophy series will feature as many as 20 Jaguar race cars and races will take place on the same weekends and on the same city street courses as Formula E will race upon.

“We’re really proud to welcome Katherine to the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy series,” Jaguar Racing Team Director James Barclay said. “She is a passionate and experienced driver, and of course as Jaguar is a British brand, we’re really excited that the first driver to be announced to join the grid is British and someone of Katherine’s pedigree.

“We have always said that having Bobby on board brings great credibility to the series and cements its place in the motorsport calendar. I have no doubt that with Katherine as part of the team, they’ll do great things in the championship.”

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Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).