Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen join Team Hardpoint EBM for Rolex 24

Legge Nielsen Rolex 24
Brian Cleary/Getty Images

Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen will compete in the No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3 R for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Legge and Nielsen fill out a roster that includes full time drivers and co-owners Earl Bamber and Rob Ferriol.

In 2016 Nielsen became the first female to win a major North American sports car championship. Along with Alessandro Balzan, the pair took the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD). Nielsen repeated the feat the following season.

Nielsen has four victories in the season with her latest coming behind the wheel of the a Porsche 911 GT3 R in 2018 at Road America. The Wright Motorsports entry finished 18th overall with Patrick Long as a co-driver.

Nielsen also won twice in 2016, at Sebring and Watkins Glen, and once in 2017 at Laguna Seca. Those three victories came in a Ferrari 488 GT3.

“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 in a release. “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.

“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.”

Nielsen’s 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.

Legge also has four IMSA WeatherTech victories to her credit with her most recent being in the 2018 race at Laguna Seca. She finished 16th overall with Alvaro Parente as a co-driver in a Michael Shank Acura NSX GT3.

Legge 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 chomping 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.

Team Hardpoint was launched in the offseason between the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Bamber has six wins to his credit, including last year’s race at Laguna Seca.

Ferriol drove in nine races last season, but missed the Rolex 24. Ferriol will compete in his second WeatherTech Championship season.

“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,” co-owner Ferriol said. “We’ve been hard at work since the checkers 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.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”