Schmidt Peterson Motorsports race engineer Leena Gade visits with RACER‘s Marshall Pruett to discuss her new challenge in the Verizon IndyCar Series after reaching the top of her profession in sports cars with the Le Mans-winning Audi Sport LMP1 team.
“There was a bit of a feeling of been there, done that [in the WEC], kind of ticked all the boxes — not to say that there’s not more to achieve because there always is in this sport — but in the end, this was an obvious choice,” she said. “My bucket list has got Indy 500 on it and it’s also got living in the States.”
Gade, who has known SPM’s general manager Piers Phillips for several years, also detailed how she got her first look at the SPM operation.
“Back in 2016, [Phillips], I guess a bit opportunistically, called me up and asked, as he knew I was leaving Audi, if I wanted to run his third car at the Indy 500. I was a bit, whoa, I can’t, I’m still with Audi, I’ve gotta kind of carry on. But as we kept in touch — I did visit him last year after the New York Formula E race back in July — he showed me around the workshop, and I was a bit like, this looks cool, this looks like something I want to do.”