Photo courtesy Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Rahal team to make electric car debut; Legge, Martin to be first female racers in Saudi Arabia

1 Comment

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is plugged in – literally and figuratively – and ready to go.

Just over a year after announcing it would compete in the all-electric car Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY racing series, RLL’s team will make its official debut this weekend (December 14-15) in the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia.

The RLL entry will have IMSA and IndyCar veterans Katherine Legge and Bryan Sellers behind the wheel.

“The testing has gone really well from a team standpoint,” said Legge, who won two races, one pole and seven podium finishes with her teammate in the GTD class of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to finish second overall to Sellers and his teammate. “Bryan and I work very well together and have run through all the test items very smoothly with our crew chiefs and engineers.

“The car has been really fun and different to get used to. And the series have done a very professional job at producing a nicely engineered car and put on fantastic events that have run smoothly. We couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Added Sellers, 2018 IMSA GTD class champion, “I feel like we have been able to learn a lot along the way and have been very productive in our testing. It has honestly been very difficult because there is a lot to learn. The driving style of the I-PACE is significantly different to anything I have driven in quite a long time.”

While it will be RLL’s and Sellers’ respective debuts in electric car racing, Legge will make her third career electric car race start, having previously competed in a pair of Formula E races with Amlin Aguri in the 2014/2015 season.

The first race of the 10-race Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY season will be contested on a 2.495 kilometer, 21-turn street course in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

The race will be a timed event of 25 minutes plus one additional lap for the checkered flag.

“I know that we have been pleased with how the cars have run (in testing) but it’s really going to be a discovery process for everyone,” Rahal said. “There are many unknowns such as how it will be to pass other cars, how the car will react over the course of a race, tire and battery use, etc.

“The first race is going to be a learning experience for everyone and naturally we hope to come home victorious. I’m just excited that we are finally getting going after announcing the program over a year ago and having been looking forward to this date for so long. It’s an exciting time for our team.”

In a historic side note, Legge and Celia Martin will become the first females to ever compete in a car race against male drivers in Saudi Arabia.

“My main focus will obviously be trying to win the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, not as a female, but as one of many race car drivers,” Legge said. “That would be a perfect way to make history.

“I know there will be a lot of focus on Célia and I racing in a country that has only just allowed females to drive and I think we are doing a great thing to bring attention to women in racing.”

Added team co-owner Bobby Rahal, “Here you have these two young ladies racing in Saudi Arabia. No doubt that they will give women of Saudi Arabia someone to cheer for and look at with great admiration and respect. These women are representing them in so many ways. I’m sure that will be a big story. I have no doubt that Katherine and Célia will be excellent examples for motorsport and represent the sport so well. It’s exciting for sure.”

The race will be streamed live on Jaguar Racing’s Facebook and Twitter channels on Saturday morning at 4:35 a.m. ET to 5: 35 a.m. ET.

Follow @JerryBonkowski