IMSA Spotlight: Christina Nielsen
Driver: No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3
How challenging was your 24 Hours of Le Mans race physically and mentally?
“Physically this year was more challenging than 2016. The Ferrari 488 GTE has a lot more downforce than the Ferrari 458 GTE I drove last year. This is the nature of the new 488. For example, in the Porsche curves you could really feel the difference. It was great for performance, but it does put more strain on your body.
“Another factor to consider both physically and mentally is that this is the longest event week of the year. It starts on Monday of race week. We have a variety of appearances and practice days during the week. The practice sessions and qualifying are at night, so your internal clock is all over the place.
“I want to make it clear, it is all huge fun, especially making the appearance at the Danish fan campsites as well as the big drivers parade. After that fun Friday, however, there is a morning warm-up before the afternoon start for the race. So for sure to be “on” for that many days in a row does take a lot of physical and mental strain.
How strenuous is the summer schedule between IMSA commitments, the buildup to Le Mans, and the race itself?
“I think its crazy to do Detroit and the Le Mans test on the same weekend, but I also understand that scheduling of international calendars is a big challenge. So for us as drivers while the travel aspect is kind of crazy, one day I am driving a street course and the next day Le Mans, so life isn’t too bad!”
With four podiums in your last four races in IMSA, do you feel like the team is poised to break through for the first win of the year?
“We are definitely still looking for that first win. We have, I feel, maximized the results as a team which has paid off with podiums. We are looking at the championship and getting good results at every race. But I am not going to lie, I am hungry for our first win of 2017.”
Do you feel like Watkins Glen will be a good track for the Ferrari?
“We had a very good result last year with good pace and strategy at Watkins Glen. We will take the performance from last year and have some confidence going into the event. But when we get on track we will start from scratch as to what setup and strategy we apply for this year’s race.”
What are your favorite things to do to pass the time on long flights?
“I always try to sleep! I always enjoy that with my schedule I know when I fly that this is a time to catch up on sleep. I also have a guilty pleasure which is that I am now binge watching the TV “Scandal”, so I do that a lot. I sometimes do work thanks to Wifi. So sleep, eat, binge watch TV, and sometimes work.”