DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Christina Nielsen and Katherine Legge, two of the more popular and successful IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers in recent history, will be back in the field for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. The two women were announced Tuesday to supplement full-season drivers and team co-owners Rob Ferriol and Earl Bamber in the No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Nielsen became the first woman to win a major North American sports car championship when she shared the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) title with Alessandro Balzan in 2016, and the duo repeated the feat a year later. The 28-year-old from Denmark is a four-time WeatherTech Championship race winner, with her last victory behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 R in 2018 at Road America.
“I am thrilled to be joining Team Hardpoint EBM and being with a group of people who have so much experience with Porsche,” said Nielsen, whose lone 2020 WeatherTech Championship appearance came in the Rolex 24, when she and Legge were part of the GTD team that finished 16th in class. “I look forward to driving the new generation of the GT3R, since the last time I sat in a Porsche was in the previous model.
“I am grateful for partners like VB Enviro Care, Richard Mille and Porsche, who have given us the opportunity to showcase that motorsport truly is an equal playing field for men and women. Daytona is still one of the races in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship where everything hasn’t worked out perfectly over the 24 hours, so I am still very much on the hunt for that podium and that watch.”
Legge has four career IMSA wins as well and finished second in the 2018 GTD standings, the same year the Brit finished second in GTD at the Rolex 24. She missed most of last season after sustaining serious leg injuries in a crash while testing in a European Le Mans Series car in France.
“I am excited on so many levels to get our season kicked off with Team Hardpoint EBM,” Legge said. “Last year was one to forget for me, but my legs are 100 percent race ready and I am champing at the bit to get back in a race car. I am very grateful to the team and to Porsche for this opportunity, and for helping in my quest to showcase female talent.
“I believe we will be the first-ever equally diverse team to have competed at Daytona 24,” Legge added. “I’m looking forward to working with Rob and Earl, and learning how to wheel a Porsche, as it will be my first time with the marque.”
Ferriol, about to embark on his second WeatherTech Championship season, and Bamber, the series’ 2019 GT Le Mans (GTLM) champion while driving for the Porsche GT Team, combined efforts in the offseason to form Team Hardpoint EBM. While Ferriol drove in nine races last season, the Rolex 24 was not among them, so the 44-year-old from North Carolina is eager for his first attempt.
“So much has been written and said about Daytona over the course of its history, to be able to debut Team Hardpoint EBM at this storied event is just an amazing and humbling opportunity,” Ferriol said. “We’ve been hard at work since the checker dropped not long ago at Sebring, bringing together two organizations to create what we hope will be a lasting presence in the IMSA paddock for years to come.
“We’ve put together a wonderful team for the 24 Hours, both on and off the track. It’s no secret that Earl, Katherine and Christina have all had success in IMSA, but to be able to bring all that experience together into one entry, and then join them on track as a driver, is the icing on the cake. I can’t think of a better way to start 2021.”