Credit Heinricher for the all-female concept that has brought Legge, De Silvestro, Figueiredo, and Nielsen together for the first time. The successful biotech firm founder/owner has secured corporate sponsorship from construction machinery equipment manufacturer Caterpillar for the 2019 season, and with the moves she’s seen so far, Legge has been inspired by Heinricher’s efforts to become IMSA’s only female entrant in the WeatherTech Championship.
“We have a very smart business person in Jackie,” she said. “Whatever Jackie does or doesn’t do in a race car is irrelevant in a way, because I believe what she’s done out of the car by bringing the program together with Caterpillar is going to be global, and it’s going to be, hopefully, something that is long-term. They’ve done a lot in NASCAR. They’ve done a lot in other sports. I really do believe that they’re going to do a lot with this. I think that that’s huge. I’ve been trying to do it for years with a sponsor who wants to get behind the best women in our sport.
“Jackie’s come straight out of the gate a year ago saying this is what she was going to do, and has done it. There are hundreds of people I respect in racing that haven’t been able to do that. That’s saying something. She’s gone out there and done something that we weren’t able to achieve. Regardless of what she does in the race car, she’s a superstar in my book.”
This weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona is only part of a year-long IMSA program for the No. 57 MSR effort. With the series’ biggest race serving as its season opener, the four-woman driving rotation will be center stage, and once the checkered flag waves over the event, it will be pared down to Legge and likely a mix of her Daytona teammates as most of the remaining races only require two drivers.
Some of the pressure will be relieved after the Rolex 24, but Legge also knows that with MSR’s all-female team set to visit iconic IMSA tracks in California, Connecticut, Georgia Ohio, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, New York, plus a trip north to Canada, there’s little chance of escaping the spotlight.
“I think every one of us is committed to making this team of ours a success and I don’t think there’s any way the other ladies would have done it unless they thought that we could win,” she said. “Coming back to where we began, we’re all extremely aware that this has to succeed. Because we know that for this to actually do what we want it to do and serve its wider purpose, it has to be competitive.
“So, do I think that we’re going to win the GTD championship and be up there at the front in every race? It’s going to take a while to get to that point, but the Acura’s a great car, and I do think we can win races this year.”