Le Mans-winning race engineer Leena Gade is on the radar of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for its rising Verizon IndyCar Series program.
Multiple sources have told RACER the Briton, whose success with the Audi Sport LMP1 program made her among the highest-profile engineers in motor racing, was a guest of SPM last week in Phoenix where the team participated in a manufacturers’ test on behalf of Honda.
With the shuttering of Audi’s LMP1 program in motion toward in 2016, Gade moved to Bentley Motorsport as part of its customer sport program where she worked through the recent completion of her contract. It’s believed SPM could have competition for Gade’s services from teams in a variety of international championships, and no decision has been made as to where her next adventure will be based.
If Gade were to join SPM, she would be come the second ex-Audi Sport engineer to tackle the uniquely American open-wheel discipline that races on three types of ovals along with road and street courses. Her former LMP1 colleague Justin Taylor, who spent the 2017 season engineering JR Hildebrand at Ed Carpenter Racing, earned two podiums – both on ovals – before returning to sports cars with Mazda Team Joest for its 2018 IMSA Daytona Prototype international campaign.
As part of a thorough revamping of its two-car team that fields James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens, SPM has made a number of impressive changes and additions during the offseason. Among the key acquisitions, former Chip Ganassi Racing engineer Todd Malloy came onboard as technical director, and if Gade were to accept an offer, the team would welcome a triple Le Mans winner with a fresh pair of eyes to bolster its open-wheel operation.