“I get to race with my friend Rahel [Frey],” enthuses Legge. “Her and I have been strong together before in the past – we did Daytona last year.
“We really wanted to race together again because I think our experience and our level is going to be one where we can go for the championship in ELMS – that’s the goal, honestly.”
The team is supported by the FIA Commission for Women in Motorsport, and represents a massive push to support greater diversity in racing. Legge is fired up and ready to make sure it has the impact the project deserves.
“Honestly, I think it’s a big step forward, and it’s a big step in the right direction, “ Legge says.
“For women in racing in particular, I think to be given the opportunity, a good car and a good team – it’s been a long time coming. Things are changing.
“Now during the last few years, things have started to snowball. Deborah Meyer [Iron Dames Team Principal] has given us the car, the equipment and the team to be competitive, which is something that we’ve always been pushing and looking for.
“We’re going to be bringing other young female drivers on, and we’re going to be trying to develop them, so they are the Katherines and the Rahels of the future.”
Legge has been central in an advisory role to the Commission since it was first formed in 2009, and is delighted to see the fruits of its and her labour starting to reap rewards.
“It was a big train to get rolling, it hasn’t been an easy road,” she says. “But it was built on solid foundations. I think I wanted everything instantaneously because I wanted it when I was still young.
“Now it’s rolling, it’s definitely taking a life of its own and I’m very impressed with what they’ve been able to do.
“With the rising stars, the Ferrari link [where its Academy has welcomed its first female driver] and everything else, there’s definitely going to be more competitive females in the future, that’s going to act as an advert to get more and more young girls involved in the sport.”
The Iron Dames team – along with its associated Iron Lynx squad – will run 14 cars across 5 GT championships, giving plenty of room for driver development.
Legge will help and give advice when it comes to developing the young driver talent in the team, but don’t for a moment presume that she’s shifting her focus from being behind the wheel. When this writer overemphasises the ‘mentor’ angle, I receive a strong riposte: “You keep saying mentor, but it’s really not what’s happening!” she says, “I’m still a driver, first and foremost!”
Legge previously kicked back at promotion of women in motorsport, believing that drivers should progress on their own merit rather than their gender.
However, she now sees other initiatives to address gender inequality, such as the Extreme-E’s stipulation that teams must field both a male and female driver per car, also as a good thing.
Legge will compete in the ELMS with Iron Dames in addition to her IMSA commitments
Francois Flamand / DPPI
“I think that’s great,” she says. “Because now we’re given equal opportunity. Some will sink and some will swim. Then it’s like any form of competition, the cream rises to the top.
“I don’t think it’s right to use your gender. I’ve never asked for special treatment because I’m female and racing. I’ve just been trying to do the same thing that the guys do the whole time and be taken seriously doing it. So it’s not different [to that] and it’s not a gimmick.
“That’s what Extreme-E is doing in a way, they’re just making it equal. The good ones will all succeed and the other ones won’t. Simple.”
Legge recently sampled Extreme-E machinery herself on the invitation of Jenson Button, and doesn’t hold back her enthusiasm for the Odyssey 21 SUV. Could Legge drive for Button’s team? For now she’s just focused on securing her first international title with the teams she is confirmed with, in addition to looking at her long-term impact on motorsport.
“I still want to win races and win championships,” she says. “That’s my main focus and my main goal. I was gutted when I didn’t do Le Mans last year. I will race there, come hell or high water.
“But alongside that, I can have a legacy, right? You can just be a driver, then quit driving and go and do your own thing, or you can still have some involvement in racing.
“I will still want to have an involvement so my legacy I see is helping other young drivers be, like I said, to be the next Katherine or the next Rahel or next Simona [De Silvestro].
“That’s why, when I got older, became slightly less selfish and a little bit more mature, I joined the Women in Motorsport Commission because I wanted to leave a legacy, I wanted to do good things with my reputation and everything that I had.
“A lot of these young girls coming up, they want to be the best girl, and I think that’s absolute rubbish. They shouldn’t be fighting each other. They should be working together to figure out how to be better, so that they’d beat everybody, not just each other.
“You have to want to be the best driver.”