Katherine Legge Becomes First Female Honoree to Be Inducted Into Long Beach’s Motorsports Walk of Fame

Alongside two-time Indy500 champion Takuma Sato.

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The motorsports community and the City of Long Beach are gearing up to celebrate the induction of two legendary drivers, Katherine Legge and Takuma Sato, into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame ahead of the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Since its inception in 2006, the Walk of Fame has become a cornerstone of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, honoring individuals who have contributed significantly to the sport’s legacy.

Legge, a trailblazer and the first woman to receive this honor, has left an indelible mark on motorsports with a career that boasts numerous milestones. From her historic win in the Atlantic Championship race on the streets of Long Beach in 2005 to becoming the fastest woman qualifier at the Indianapolis 500 in 2023, Legge’s journey is a testament to her skill, determination, and pioneering spirit. Beyond the track, she serves as a role model, actively engaging as a Girl Scouts STEM Ambassador and championing fitness through various activities.

As the first female to be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, Legge is widely recognized as one of the world’s fastest female drivers, has one of the most diverse careers in all of motorsports, and has achieved several “firsts” throughout her career. Most recently in 2023, she broke the record to become the fastest woman qualifier for the Indy500 in the race’s 107-year history. She also brought the Acura NSX its first-ever win worldwide in 2017, was the first woman to lead a Champ Car race in 2006, and in Long Beach, became the first woman to win a major North American open wheel race in 2005 when she captured the Atlantic Championship race. She has secured three championships, six race wins, and 15 podium results in her professional driving career, among many other accolades.

“I am beyond honored to be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame. My professional racing career started here in 2005, and that win on these iconic streets remains one of the best lifetime memories that I get to carry with me. I’m humbled to be alongside such legends of our sport, and I can’t express how much this means to me.”

– Katherine Legge
Source: X (formerly Twitter) | @katherinelegge

In her free time, Legge is also a Girl Scouts STEM Ambassador and enjoys skiing, cycling, training and competing in triathlons, and yoga. Legge currently competes full time in an Acura NSX GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The second inductee alongside Legge is Takuma Sato, a celebrated driver known for breaking barriers and setting records. He is also the first Japanese driver to win the prestigious Indy500 a feat he accomplished twice. Sato’s victory at the 2013 Grand Prix of Long Beach marked him as the first Japanese driver to win an INDYCAR SERIES race, solidifying his place in motorsport history. His contributions extend beyond the racetrack, with accolades that include being named a Goodwill Ambassador and earning recognition from prominent publications for his achievements and impact.

The tradition, history and heritage of Long Beach, and what it means to be a winner here, are such an honor,” said Sato. “The Walk of Fame at the Grand Prix of Long Beach is a privilege, especially because it is always a race and a track that I love to compete on. Winning the race here was such a significant moment for me, and I would like to once again extend my heartfelt thanks to the entire AJ Foyt Racing team and the fantastic No.14 car crew for their incredible work. Lastly, I feel honored to be inscribed as one of those who could add a page to Japanese motorsport history.”

We are thrilled to recognize Katherine and Takuma for their outstanding contributions to the world of motorsports,” said First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas. “It is a true honor to have their accolades, engraved on exquisite medallions embedded on the sidewalks of our beautiful Downtown shoreline, which will be seen by racing fans from all over world for many years to come.”

Vice Mayor and Second District Councilwoman Cindy Allen also emphasized both drivers’ achievements stating that “[t]heir achievements on and off the track have inspired countless individuals to pursue their dreams and the world a better place. What a privilege it is to present Katherine and Takuma with this prestigious honor. We wish them much continued success on all their future endeavors.”

Mayor Rex Richardson shared his perspective of the significance of the Walk of Fame as a tribute to those who have profoundly impacted the city and the motorsport world. “Our Motorsports Walk of Fame serves as a lasting tribute to the legends who have left a memorable mark on Long Beach and the racing community. We look forward to celebrating their remarkable careers during the induction ceremony.”

The unveiling of 22-inch bronze medallions commemorating their achievements will immortalize their contributions, allowing fans and future generations to appreciate the rich history and dynamic personalities that have shaped motorsports. This event not only celebrates Legge’s and Sato’s illustrious careers but also marks a moment of reflection on the growth and evolution of racing, as encapsulated by the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame.

The induction ceremony, open to the public and free of charge, will take place on April 18.