Driver Spotlight: Christina Nielsen
Driver: No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3
You had a couple races with Kevin Buckler and TRG-AMR at the end of 2014. Having now had multiple races in multiple series to kick off 2015, how much more comfortable are you with the team and car?
“The mechanics, the team have done a great job – that’s the main reason why I’m here. It’s definitely a transition every time but it gets better and better. It’s all about practice. If you want to be a great pro driver, you have to transition really well no matter whatever car you’re in. For me, it’s great practice to move toward that goal. I don’t think there are many other cars in the paddock that have run as much as mine has, because we run it in both specs. It’s a blessing for me, and has come from a lot of hard work.”
How do you compare traffic in all-GT sprint racing versus in the multi-class TUDOR Championship with Prototypes and GT cars?
“It’s a huge difference in World Challenge. There’s us and the guys that we’re faster than. But there’s also the GT Cup cars to watch out for. In TUDOR, you have to be so much better at watching your mirrors. I’m normally pretty good at keeping an overview of what’s going on.”
What have you learned from your co-driver James Davison, and is it weird at all to be teammates in TUDOR and racing against him elsewhere?
“I would say we get on very well… We have disputes sometimes like old people! Racing-wise, I’m so happy and blessed to be with a co-driver like James. He’s a very talented driver. His pace is amazing. He’s also very good at teaching. He’s always watching me, my data, my videos. We go over the car together. We speak the same language. We give similar feedback, so we feel the same and want the same for the car.
“We will race each other if it comes to that. However James normally is a bit quicker than me on pace, so we haven’t been in the same battles. COTA is really the only place. I show him the same respect he deserves as he gives me.”
You’ll get to qualify in GTD the rest of the year. Are you excited or nervous since James had his pole streak?
“I am so relieved he didn’t put it on the pole in Sebring because I would have killed that streak in Laguna! I was really pleased actually. I’m very excited about it. There are some butterflies in my stomach. From IMSA’s perspective, I think it’s a really good move. You avoid the problem of having really good drivers qualify really close and suddenly there’s a quite slow Silver driver in front of three other Silvers that are faster, so to avoid the carnage at the start it’s a good solution.”
What are some tracks you’re looking forward to the rest of the season?
“Detroit would be new. Petit is always my favorite. I drove my first race in North America there, 2013 ALMS Petit Le Mans with NGT. I remember getting out of the car my first stint, and saying, ‘This is too much with the elevation!’ I love that track. I love that event. It’s the one I look forward to the most. I hope to participate at Watkins Glen too as there’s a clash.”
What are some of your other hobbies and activities you enjoy away from the track?
“I moved to San Rafael, Calif., so two and a half hours from Monterey. I’m trying some new things that I haven’t done before. The outdoor environment definitely allows a few things like rock climbing; I tried that, I’m afraid of heights, so I’m working on that. I like to play tennis. Give me a racket and I’ll go crazy. I played six years before I went to karting. Other than that, I just spending a lot of time with my friends and studying. That takes a lot of time. It’s exam time.”