Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion Christina Nielsen will join the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo line-up for the Rolex 24 At Daytona next month. Nielsen was drafted into the effort following a back injury that will prevent Jackie Heinricher from driving in the season-opening race.
Nielsen joins the all-female driver line-up for the No. 57 entry, with Heinricher Racing having created the pioneering effort in partnership with Caterpillar Inc. Katherine Legge and Heinricher are slated to share the driving duties for the 2019 IMSA season, with Bia Figueiredo and Simona De Silvestro set to open the 2019 IMSA season with the team at the Rolex 24.
After suffering a back injury during the off season, Heinricher opted to step away from the cockpit for the Roar Before the 24 test and Rolex 24 itself, but will continue her role as program leader for the initiative.
“It is great to have another talented and experienced driver join the Heinricher Racing/MSR Caterpillar effort, so we are fortunate to be able to bring Christina on board,” said Heinricher. “She is very talented and has accomplished a tremendous amount in her young career and will be a great fit with the team. It was a tough decision to step out but its what’s best for me, the drivers and the team. I’ll be right there with everyone from the pit stand and ready to get back in the car for the rest of the season.”
Nielsen is a two-time IMSA GTD champion, with four career wins at Sebring, Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen.
“The whole program that Jackie has put together is a great initiative and something that I’m very excited to be a part of,” said Nielsen. “It is amazing what she has done with Caterpillar and bringing them into sports car racing. Mike (Shank) is somewhat of a legend in the paddock and I have had the pleasure to race against him for many years. He runs a very professional program and they showed their strength in 2018 with a near championship. MSR is a team that you want to be with and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
The 2019 IMSA season will kick off with the Roar Before the 24 on Jan. 4-6 followed by the 57th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-27.