The two-time GTD champion will make her third appearance at Le Mans in an Ebimotors Porsche alongside Fabio Babini
Let’s take a moment to ignore the latest well-publicised negative views regarding female racing drivers, because IMSA GTD champion Christina Nielsen has announced her third attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The two-time IMSA GTD champion will partner Le Mans veteran Fabio Babini in an Ebimotors-run Porsche in the GTE Am class. The team’s guaranteed spot on the 2018 entry list comes courtesy of their GT title in last year’s Michelin Le Mans Cup, earning them an automatic invitation. Formerly associated with Lamborghini, the Italian team is now an official Porsche Motorsport partner, and will run Porsche’s mid-engined GTE class development of the 911.
“I’m super happy to go back to Le Mans,” Nielsen remarked. “It’s one of those races that a driver dreams about doing at least once in their lifetime.”
“Being able to say, at the age of 26, that I’m going to my third Le Mans is definitely pretty amazing,” she added. “I’m excited to compete with the current mid-engine Porsche 911 RSR — that’s a first for me and definitely one of the biggest wishes that will come true.”
Nielsen’s debut with Ebimotors and Porsche will be her third start at Le Mans. Now partnering Porsche factory man Patrick Long for another IMSA GTD championship challenge, Nielsen has received extensive support from the German manufacturer for 2018. Porsche announced her as their inaugural “Selected Driver”, launching their new initiative giving Silver drivers the benefit of Porsche’s driver training resources to help develop their skills both on and off track.
Nielsen’s teammate Babini has a storied history in GT racing too. As well as being last year’s Michelin Le Mans Cup champion with Ebimotors, he took the GT class victory at Le Mans in 2001 for Seikel Motorsport, racing a Porsche 911 with Luca Drudi and Gabrio Rosa.
Babini later partnered with BMS Scuderia Italia in 2008 and 2009, taking two second places in GT2 alongside Matteo Malucelli and Paolo Ruberti in a Ferrari 430. He is also a double Lamborghini Super Trofeo champion, and won the 2013 Italian GT Championship.
“I’m very happy to have Christina with us at the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Enrico Borghi, Ebimotors’ team manager. “The opportunity to be part of this incredible event is a great honour. Christina is young but already well experienced. The added value of this partnership is represented by the fact that Christina is also one of the Porsche Selected Drivers for 2018.”
Nielsen has also received encouragement from Alessandro Balzan, who co-drove Nielsen to both her GTD titles. The very quick Italian won the Carrera Cup Italia with Ebimotors before racing in IMSA, and has been complimentary about the squad.
“Ebimotors is the team that my past co-driver Alessandro Balzan used to drive for, and he has spoken very highly of them,” Nielsen said. “I’m excited to work with them. Everyone on the team has been super sweet and has welcomed me with open arms, so I look forward to getting to know them better.”
Nielsen will fly straight from IMSA’s round at Detroit to the Le Mans test day, returning for the race itself during IMSA’s summer break. Ebimotors will announce the third driver to partner Nielsen and Babini in the coming weeks.