DANVILLE, Va. (Aug. 22, 2016) – Fresh and energized from a two-week break, Christina Nielsen is aiming to grow her GT Daytona lead at the next IMSA WeatherTech Championship race – the Michelin GT Challenge on Aug. 26-28 at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).
The two hour and 40-minute event at VIR, which starts at 1:35 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 28, will start the stretch run of Nielsen’s successful 2016 IMSA season, with just two races remaining after this event – the Lone Star Le Mans in mid-September and the Petit Le Mans in early October, respectively.
“I really like VIR,” Nielsen said. “I think it’s a classic, old-school American circuit. There are quick corners and a quick flow, so you have to be really precise because the track is a bit bumpy in some places.”
Nielsen admits the 17-turn, 3.27-mile track, located just north of the Virginia-North Carolina state line, could pose specific challenges for the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 that she shares with co-driver Alessandro Balzan. This race also is a GT-only event, with the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes as the headliners.
“It’s probably going to be a challenge for the team because the front straight is super long,” Nielsen said. “We may face some difficulty in following the other cars, but the team has done a great job with setting up the car.”
Nielsen and teammate Balzan earned their class-best fifth podium finish of the season at the Continental Road Race Showcase on Aug. 7 at Road America. The pair extended their GT Daytona class lead to 15 points with that third-place finish.
Denmark native Nielsen finished second in the GTD class last season at VIR with a different team and co-driver. So she hopes that successful run will continue with Scuderia Corsa and Balzan this year.
“We had a good result at VIR last year – it was a lot about strategy, so it will be interesting to see how our strategy will play out this year,” Nielsen said.
“I’ve been studying for a big exam during my two weeks off, so I’m really looking forward to taking a break from that and getting back in the car!”
Nielsen also will participate in the IMSA WeatherTech Driver Fan Forum from 10-10:30 a.m. Sunday in theVIR Pavilion Area. She joins WeatherTech Championship standout drivers Andy Lally, Nick Tandy and Richard Westbrook.
Race: Michelin GT Challenge at VIR (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship)
Date: Friday, Aug. 26 to Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016
Venue: VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), Danville, Virginia. Turns: 17. Circuit Length: 3.27 miles.
Car: No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 (GT Daytona class)
Co-Driver: Alessandro Balzan, Italy
Schedule (all times local, ET): Friday, Aug. 26 – Practice 1: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Practice 2: 3:35-4:35 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27 – Practice 3: 8-9 a.m. Qualifying: 11:55 a.m.-12:10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28 – Warm-up: 8:05-8:25 a.m. Michelin GT Challenge at VIR WeatherTech Championship race: 1:35-4:15 p.m.
Live Timing: www.imsa.com, IMSA app for iOS, Android