Racing can be tough, and some races will test a driver more than others. During Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, driver Christina Nielsen and co-driver Patrick Long persisted through a multitude of challenges during the two-hour, 40-minute event in Canada to secure a hard-fought top-10 finish.
The race day started off well for Wright Motorsports’ No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Porsche 911 GT3 R. On Sunday morning, Nielsen drove during the warmup session at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, where she was in the top five fastest in class, and left feeling confident about the car’s setup for that afternoon’s race. There, she started eighth in the GTD class and drove a steady, clean stint until Wright Motorsports’ sister car, which was a lap down, made accidental contact with the No. 58, sending Nielsen off the course. Under a caution flag, the car was towed back out to the track and Nielsen re-entered the race, but she was then both down a lap and had been knocked to the back of the field. She was able to keep the car in a top-10 position until her co-driver, Patrick Long, took over the car for his stint through the end of the race.
“Overall, it was a challenging weekend for us,” Nielsen said on Sunday. “With the track temperatures and conditions changing before the race, it was hard to match the great setup I had in this morning’s warmup. The car felt very good and I was confident about today’s race. However, the setup didn’t translate for the race itself, so the car was a bit more difficult to handle.
“Unfortunately, our final results don’t reflect the team highlights that are found within every race weekend,” she continued. “Today, the team’s pit stops and race strategy was absolutely amazing. It’s like that every race weekend. There are elements that are really well done, whether it’s with the drivers, the car, pit stops or the strategy. We have bright moments where everything is really good. Unfortunately, we just haven’t had a race this season where we put it all together and had a bit of luck — because you need a little of that to have a victory within the competitive GTD class. We just have to have all of those elements combine.”
Nielsen also confirms that though it was her teammate’s car that hit her during her race, there are no hard feelings between her and driver Michael Schein. “He apologized, and I’m glad to say that within the team, we sorted it out. Everyone makes mistakes, but unfortunately, it doesn’t bring our race back — so of course, we’re disappointed. All we can do is close the book on this one and look forward to Lime Rock.”
One highlight for the Wright team was the No. 58 car’s commitment to being filmed for the movie adaptation of The New York Times bestselling novel, “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” Racecar driver and producer, Patrick Dempsey, actor Milo Ventimiglia and the film’s crew took part in the race weekend, gathering on-track footage starring the No. 58 car. Long raced his stint in the Porsche while wearing the helmet of the film’s main character, Denny Swift. The whole team felt the buzz throughout the weekend as their pit box doubled as an active film set.
Nielsen’s next race is the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut, on July 20 and 21.
Source. Christina Nielsen/Photo. Al Arena, Ignite Media