Schmidt Peterson Motorsports made history on Tuesday when they announced that long time World Endurance Championship engineer Leena Gode has joined the team as James Hicnchcliffe’s new race engineer becoming the first female lead race engineer in Verizon IndyCar Series history.

The former Audi LMP1 race engineer commented on her move into the Verizon IndyCar Series with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports by saying:

I’m really honored that I’ve got a chance to come across and work in IndyCar. “When I was a kid, I used to watch IndyCar, especially when Nigel Mansell first came over, and I followed it quite a lot. During my sports car days, it was a little less so, until I had friends come across to the US to work in it like Piers [Phillips, General Manager of SPM]. I’m quite honored to be given the chance. It is going to be something completely different to anything I’ve ever done before, so it’s a big learning curve, but it’s a challenge that I’m really relishing, so I’m looking forward to it.

Gade, from the UK became the first woman to lead a team to victory in the LeMans 24 Hours in 2011, following this up with another win in 2012 and again in 2014.

Speaking about Gade’s appointment to the team, general manager of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports., Piers Philips commented by saying:

There was significant interest in Leena amongst the international motorsports community, so we’re really excited that she sees where we’re taking SPM, believes in what we’re doing and that she is now a part of our organization. I’ve known Leena for quite some time now, and I’ve worked alongside her, so I knew the credit she’s been given is well deserved. We’re very much looking forward to throwing her into the deep end and seeing her add to the team’s success.

Gade will get her first opportunity to work trackside with the Mayor of HinchTown on January 24 when the team head to Sebring International Raceway for the first test of 2018, just six weeks before the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season kicks off at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg which takes place from March 9-11.

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