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NIELSEN: Estoril Debrief

Christina Nielsen files her final Sportscar365 column of the season…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

It was sad, but it was also a big relief when my American race season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ended because we ended on such a good note after winning both the GTD championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

It really didn’t feel like off-season to me yet because I had been focusing on my ELMS and Formula Racing’s next race at the 4 Hours of Estoril.

Estoril, which is located in Cascais, Portugal, is a technical track and I was looking forward to going back and driving at this technically challenging track. I drove there once in 2014, but we didn’t have a great result, so I really wanted to go back and improve my results on that track.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The first thing that put our team behind was a wrong choice of tires.

After some heavy rain, we went with the intermediate tires but the track was quickly drying up. We were actually hoping for rain so we could take advantage of the tires, but we weren’t so lucky. About 10 minutes into the race, we had to pit and change the slicks to dry tires.

The second thing that put us behind was our generator. It basically just shut down and there wasn’t much we could do.

It was a mechanical failure that we couldn’t predict. I wasn’t able to drive since all of this happened within the first hour of the four-hour race.

It was sad our ELMS season had to end this way, but that’s how racing goes sometimes.

We finished the American season on a high note so I’m going to try to focus on that.

It would’ve been nice to end this season on a high note as well, but I’m very grateful for the year I’ve had and very thankful that Formula Racing gave me an opportunity to race with them in Europe. I’m especially thankful I was able to race with them at my first 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Now, as I head back home to Los Angeles, I’m focusing on getting everything done for 2017. Sponsors are an integral part of racing so that’s a huge focus.

I’m also training, both mentally and physically, and doing all of the work that goes on behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t see or think about. In December, I’m going to go home to Denmark and spend time with family and friends, which I’m really looking forward to.

I’m very excited about working on my plans for 2017. It looks like right now, I’ll be back racing in the IMSA series next year.

I really enjoyed racing in that series so that’s great news for me. It also looks like we’re going to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after winning the ticket, which I’m thrilled about.

I’m really looking forward to what 2017 will bring, but in the meantime, I’m preparing and training to be better and faster than ever!

Christina Nielsen (@ChristinaRacing) is the 2015 IMSA GT Daytona class championship runner-up finisher, driving for Scuderia Corsa in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Formula Racing in the European Le Mans Series.


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