Sonoma Test could be Legge up for Dragon Racing driver Katherine Legge wants to keep it simple in her first extended time behind the wheel of the No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing car since late June.
So the morning session of an Aug. 17 test at Sonoma will be routine: Learn the reconfigured layout, develop a baseline car set-up, get comfortable and gradually build up speed.
Then enjoy. Time, for once, is an ally.
Legge is scheduled to join 19 other drivers from 11 teams on the road course in preparation for the Aug. 24-26 GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma that will feature a 27-car lineup. Spectators are invited to the free session from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., which includes an open paddock and the opportunity to attend driver news conferences.
The raceway unveiled the modified track layout, which features changes to Turns 7, 9 and 11 designed to enhance overtaking, after consulting with IZOD IndyCar Series officials, drivers and team representatives. With the modifications, the track will be 12 turns and 2.31 miles and race distance will increase from 75 to 85 laps.
Legge got in about 20 laps before the alterations July 12 when Dragon Racing teammate Sebastien Bourdais tested. It was her first time on a road/street circuit since competing in the Brazil race in late April.
"I've just been training physically to get ready for (testing and the race)," said Legge, who was added to the roster when Chevrolet dedicated a second engine to the team for the eighth IZOD IndyCar Series race at the circuit. "I've been driving on the simulator. I've been watching YouTube videos. I asked the team to send me some data. I mean, I'm doing everything outside of the car that I can possibly do. There's no substitute for actually driving the car."
A positive race result would be important for Legge and the No. 6 car's primary sponsor, TrueCar, which is headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., and has an office in San Francisco. The online car dealership is supporting six female racing drivers, including Legge, in their respective careers through its Women Empowered initiative.
"I just need to be as close to Sebastien in times as I can because we're pretty much going to be driving the same set-up with the same car," she said. "I think top 12 would be awesome, but I haven't been in the car for so long. A top 12 would be a really good result."
She watched from pit lane Aug. 5 as Bourdais, driving the No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing entry, posted a season-best fourth place in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The result is another building block in the program - for the drivers and team.
"We're building, improving, and hopefully we can do the same at Sonoma and look forward to next year," said Legge, who has a best finish of 15th (Texas, Iowa) in eight races. "That's what we're working on already."