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Shank: Nielsen Achieving MSR’s Targets in Expanded Role

MSR co-owner Michael Shank gives high marks to Christina Nielsen in expanded Endurance Cup role…

Photo: Christina Racing Facebook

Michael Shank has given high praise to Christina Nielsen, who is set for an expanded program in the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo.

The two-time IMSA GT Daytona class champion was confirmed last week for the remaining Michelin Endurance Cup races, alongside full-season driver Katherine Legge, as well as former IndyCar driver Bia Figueiredo.

The trio, who were joined by Simona de Silvestro for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, became the first all-female lineup to contest the race since 1967, finishing 12th in class.

Shank said there will be “no difference” in the team’s approach for the remaining Endurance Cup races with Nielsen now officially on board.

“We tested [at Sebring] last [month] and it went well,” he told Sportscar365. “She’s doing exactly what I wanted her to do.

“There’s a reason Christina has won two championships. The number one [thing] is that she gave that car to [Alessandro] Balzan with all the fenders, all of the dive planes and wings in one piece and in a competitive position.

“That combination worked and that’s what I need her to do for us.

“Everyone always wants to be faster and I’m just trying to remove that layer of pressure so she can just perform.”

Shank said they are taking a “race by race” approach in the team’s lineup for the Caterpillar-sponsored Acura, with project leader Jackie Heinricher intending to drive at some point this season.

Heinricher, who tested with the team at Sebring last month, could make her IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut in the sprint races, although Shank said a definitive timeline has not been established.

“That’s how she sold the program to Caterpillar and that was the expectation [to race],” Shank said of Heinricher.

“We’ll keep trying to get her up to speed, comfortable and happy and in a good place.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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