Christina Nielsen and her Formula Racing teammates came through some of the most challenging weather conditions seen in recent years at Le Mans to put their No. 60 Ferrari 458 seventh on the grid, with a best lap time on Wednesday night of 3:58.760, for the GTE-Am class for the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Nielsen, currently leading the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class standings in the USA, is joining fellow Danes, and fellow Le Mans rookies, Johnny Laursen and Mikkel Mac, as the team attempt to add a win at Le Mans to last season’s European Le Mans Series crown.
With a four-hour Free Practice session, a two-hour night qualifying session on Wednesday, and a pair of two-hour qualifying sessions on Thursday, there was set to be plenty of opportunity for Nielsen to dial herself in to the notoriously tricky Le Mans circuit.
That was before the weather intervened. With rain ranging from light to heavy and monsoon-like, it tested the driver and machinery every track session.
You can always wish for more track time, particularly when you are driving a circuit this different for the very first time, but the important thing is to take whatever opportunities you can, This was never about looking for pole position, it was all about building up knowledge of the track, and the car.
To do that you have to push, but you have to be safe, particularly in the terrible weather conditions we had on Thursday. The 24 Hours of Le Mans isn’t a 24-hour race, it’s four different 24-hour races, with four classes together on the same track at the same time.
We’ll start on Saturday afternoon having already learned a lot about the challenges, but with a lot more to learn. By 4 p.m. on Sunday, if we’ve stuck to our plan, and made no mistakes, I hope we can bring the car to the finish, which is always the first objective. If our plan is a good one, then we can start to think about something even better.
Christina Nielsen Press Release
Photos: Formula Racing / Gary Parravani