Outside of a quick exhibition lap during the Ferrari Finali Mondiali, defending GT Daytona champion Christina Nielsen hasn’t driven the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 since she won the title with it at the beginning of October. The IMSA December test provided her with the opportunity to return to the cockpit of the special car, and she couldn’t be happier.
“The key to making what we do worth it is to just have so much fun,” Nielsen said. “This is a great group of guys to be with and I’m so happy to be back in the car. The 488 is absolutely amazing to drive. I haven’t really driven it since Petit Le Mans and we’re fortunate that the car was already out here for the Ferrari World Finals.”
Weather conditions at the two-day test were nearly perfect, but there are still questions about how it will be in late January when it comes time for the actual race. Nielsen is confident in her crew’s ability to set the car up properly, though.
“The team has done a good job this week,” she said. “Yes, we do have a few things to work on, but I’m confident that when it comes time for the race, we’ll have a great car.”
The young Dane has been so busy with racing duties and preparing for the coming season that she hasn’t had much time to relax. She’ll even be on the big screen back home fairly soon, as a Danish film crew followed her exploits for much of the 2016 season and will be releasing a documentary about her on Dec. 19. The holiday season will finally provide her with an opportunity to claim her earned stint of rest and relaxation.
“I’m looking forward to going back home and spending a bit of time with my family,” Nielsen said. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen them, probably not in at least many months.”
Visit Florida Racing Getting Acquainted With New Multimatic Riley
While there were a total of four Daytona Prototype international (DPi) cars participating in the test, the lone LM P2 car in the field was the No. 90 Multimatic Riley machine from Visit Florida Racing co-driven by Marc Goossens and 2016 WeatherTech Championship Prototype Challenge champion Renger van der Zande. Beginning in 2017, DPi and LM P2 cars will compete against each other for overall and Prototype class honors.
The two-day test was very much a “getting to know you” session for the Daytona Beach-based team and its new race car, as the team recently took delivery of the car and shook it down over the weekend at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina just prior to the test.
“For us, it’s huge,” said Visit Florida Racing Owner Troy Flis of the Daytona test. “Realistically, our car leaves here, goes to a wind-tunnel test it has to go through, so at that point, it’s out of pocket. We won’t have our car back until Christmas, so now we have Christmas, New Years, then the Roar, a week and you’re here.
“It’s going to be a challenge. We’ve got some time and some days to go, but right now, it’s just new-car blues and putting your head down and working through them. The hurdles are getting smaller and they’re getting fewer and that’s a good thing.”