Katherine Legge can't obtain 'viable car,' won't vie for Indy 500
The all-female team that hoped to enter the 100th Indianapolis 500 with Katherine Legge will not attempt to qualify for the race this weekend.
Grace Autosport said Wednesday that while it was able to secure a manufacturer partner, sponsors, educational partners, funding and crew members, it was not able to obtain a "viable car."
"We met with many teams in the IndyCar paddock late last season to determine partnership feasibility and discovered numerous teams had chosen to scale back their plans for 2016," team principal Beth Paretta said in a news release. "We were ready to announce a team partnership for the Indy 500 at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in mid April, but a change in terms proved unsound for Grace's sponsor partners and unfortunately we had to step away from the deal."
Veteran British driver Legge, who drives the DeltaWing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, was aiming to compete in her third Indianapolis 500. She finished 22nd for Dragon Racing in 2012 and 26th for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2013.
"The consolidation of teams and the decrease of entries in 2016 reduced the available options for us," Paretta said. "Our partner spoke with [chassis provider] Dallara about buying a new car after Long Beach, but there wasn't a current 2016 car available in time for the 500. We evaluated an available chassis as late as last week, but there wasn't enough time to acquire all the parts needed to rebuild the car safely. Because of this sequence of events we will not campaign a car in this year's Indy 500."
Grace Autosport announced plans to compete in the 100th Indy 500 in a news conference in May 2015. Paretta said the team's aim was to eventually compete full-time in the IndyCar Series with female owners, drivers, engineers and crew members, while promoting STEM education and opportunities in racing for women.
In Wednesday's news release, Paretta said the group will "not give up" and will work closely with its partners on its future.
"The Grace Autosport initiative is far more than a race program," she said. "Concurrent to building the race team, we have been assembling commercial partners and the essential pieces for our STEM educational initiatives to reach the community and the classroom that we set forth a year ago."