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Christina Nielsen can make racing history for women during Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta
Danish driver can become first female winner of a major North American motorsports series
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Denmark’s Christina Nielsen competes during a race this season. Driving in the GT Daytona classification, Nielsen has a chance to become the first woman to win a major North American Motorsports championship. - photo by For The Times

Petit Le Mans

When: 11:10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Road Atlanta, Braselton

Tickets: Prices are $50 and up. Children under 12 with an adult are free. To purchase tickets, call 770-967-6143 or go online to www.roadatlanta.com/petit-le-mans-tickets

Capping off one of her most successful seasons as a driver, Christina Nielsen will hope a strong finish in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans can clinch a GT Daytona class championship.

Such a result would be more than exciting — it would be historic.

Nielsen has the potential to become the first woman to win a major North American motorsports championship, according to Kelsi Nilsson, manager of public relations and marketing at Road Atlanta.

“It’s huge for our sport,” said Nilsson. “There’s a lot riding on this.”

That’s because the Petit Le Mans represents the finale for the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, which covers four classes of racing, including Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona.

All four classes will race at the same time during the 10-hour, 1,000-mile race at Road Atlanta in Braselton, which promises to bring racing fans from all over the country — and world — into South Hall.

Nielsen, who could not be reached by press time, is currently leading the GT Daytona standings with 256 points, with the next four challengers trailing by four points or less. Her team, TRG-Aston Martin Racing is also ahead of the pack by a very slim margin.

Nielsen will be splitting the endurance race with co-drivers Kuno Wittmer and Brandon Davis. Nielsen’s team, riding in a V12 Vantage, will be tackling what Nilsson called a “10-hour sprint race,” which should test the boundaries between conservative and flat-out racing styles.

“It’s a long time that people have to make it through,” said Nilsson. “They have to be thinking about the other drivers, checking their mirrors. They’ll be chasing headlights at night. It makes qualifying on Friday very important, they’ll be pushing hard the whole time.”

Christina is the daughter of Lars-Erik Nielsen, who has raced a Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other endurance events. Christina first began her racing career in 2007 through karting in her native Denmark. Since then, she has progressed through several different race classes and has commanded the attention from her fellow competitors.

By the time the green flag drops on Saturday, she’ll have a captive audience in Braselton, as well.

Nielson has four podium finishes to her name this season, and will look to finish higher than her top two rivals, Christopher Haase and Dion Von Moltke, who are just one point off of her lead in GT Daytona.

“We are still entering the race as the class leaders and as drivers, this is what we dream of — a chance to win a championship in the last race of the season when everything is on the line,” said Nielsen on her team’s website Monday.

“It’s exciting and a little nerve-wracking all at the same time. When I started with the team back in Daytona, I never believed we would be going into the last race in this position. The entire team has done such an amazing job to get us here and now we have to deliver.”

Notes: Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook enter the TUDOR finale in the Prototype class tied for the series’ points lead with 279. Four other drivers are just six points out of first place.

The race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 2, starting at 11 a.m., and is scheduled to finish around 9:30 p.m. Qualifying begins on Friday afternoon at Road Atlanta.

For more information, visit www.roadatlanta.com or call 770-967-6143.

Petit Le Mans

When: 11:10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Road Atlanta, Braselton

Tickets: Prices are $50 and up. Children under 12 with an adult are free. To purchase tickets, call 770-967-6143 or go online to www.roadatlanta.com/petit-le-mans-tickets

 

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