After being bumped from the field on Pole Day, Vautier qualified for his first Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 224.873 mph.
“I know that my car had more speed in it than my qualifying lap average showed, but I am happy to officially be in the field for my first Indianapolis 500,” Vautier said.
Driving the No. 55 SPM/Lucas Oil Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, Vautier will be one of four rookies in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 field.
Katherine Legge qualified the No. 81 SPM entry in the 33rd and final starting spot on the starting grid after stepping into the car for the first time Bump Day morning. Legge completed less than 30 laps before heading out for her qualifying attempt.
“It has been a rush to get everything together, but the team has worked so hard and I’m so happy,” Legge said. “The engineers and my teammates Simon (Pagenaud) and Tristan (Vautier) have done a fantastic job of setting up the cars so that I could just hop in and feel comfortable right away.”
After a hectic several days in which she was not sure if the deal for the No. 81 car would come together or if the car would make the field with very little practice time, Legge can breathe a sigh of relief. She qualified the No. 81 car in 33rd position with a four-lap average speed of 223.176 mph.
“It’s been a stressful few days and I honestly haven’t been able to sleep much because I’ve been so focused on getting the car in the field,” Legge said. “Now that I know the car is in the field I’ll be able to rest easy and hopefully get a bit of a breather!”
Simon Pagenaud, who secured the 21st spot on the starting grid on the first day of qualifying, ran 77 practice laps in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car on Bump Day focusing on his race day setup.
“We practiced race trim today and the car is really good,” Pagenaud said. “It’s obviously going to be very difficult for everyone to pick a downforce level. That’s going to be the tricky thing to decide this week before the race. Going on the low side would be very risky but if we stayed with a high level of downforce we’ll stay at the back of the field.”
Pagenaud also had high words of praise for his crew, who were instrumental in providing a setup for the No. 81 car of Legge.
“I want to congratulate the whole team, especially on the HP side of things, because without their setup the third car wouldn’t be in the field,” Pagenaud said. “They have done so much work getting a third car in the field at Indy which is tremendous because that is never easy.”
Pagenaud, Vautier and Legge will all return to action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 24 at Coors Light Carb Day for the final practice session before the Indianapolis 500. For the latest team updates, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.