You’d be hard pressed to find any driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a more successful three-year run than Christina Nielsen, who won back-to-back GT Daytona class championships in 2016 and 2017 with Alessandro Balzan. Although they only won one race in 2017 – the penultimate round of the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – the team had a midseason run of six consecutive podium results to build a healthy championship lead.
“You win the championship performing the best you can and getting the most out of a race weekend when it’s not your race weekend,” Nielsen said. “When you have everything going against you and nothing seems right, and it’s really hard mentally but you still create a decent or good result. That’s when you know you’re a strong contender for the championship. That’s when you know you’re a champion at mind.
“As a driver, I think it’s always important to ask yourself risk versus reward. How rewarded am I going to be by making this pass or taking this chance? How important is it compared to how much am I risking? What am I throwing away?”
Despite back-to-back GTD championships, it was announced in September that the 25-year-old Dane would not return to Scuderia Corsa team. Her plans for next year are still developing, as Scuderia Corsa will field an entry for Balzan and Cooper MacNeil in 2018, but Nielsen knows she brings a lot to the table.
“The way I see it, I bring value to a team,” Nielsen said. “I just need to find that team and that group of people that want to take advantage of that value. I don’t know what the future holds at the moment, but I do know that I’ve had some pretty good years and I think I’ve accomplished more already in these three years than a lot of the people in the paddock have achieved over several years.
“It’s got to be tough for some of the competitors that have been there for a longer time that here comes in this chick and suddenly I’m always there at the end for the championship the last three years in a row. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”