With sponsorship from luxury watchmaker Richard Mille, the GTD team announced Legge and Nielsen would continue racing the No. 88 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which finished 10th in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway with teammates (and team co-owners) Earl Bamber and Rob Ferriol (who will drive the team’s No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 R this year).
“I’m really excited to be joining Team Hardpoint EBM again, especially with Richard Mille as a partner,” Legge, a four-time IMSA winner who returned in January after missing six months with crash injuries, said in a release Monday. “I’m really proud to represent both Richard Mille and Team Hardpoint EBM and team with my friend Christina. I think we’ll be a force to be reckoned with. I’m very grateful to be given that opportunity and have to thank VB Enviro Care for helping us to get the program started at Daytona.”
Nielsen, a two-time GTD champion, was the first woman to win a full-season sports car title in 2016 and has four victories in the class.
“I’m looking forward to what will be a different setup with Katherine and I joining forces in our own car and being teammates to Rob and Earl,” Nielsen said in a release. “I’m grateful to the partners we have on board, especially Richard Mille, and to Team Hardpoint EBM and Porsche. I know we’ll have everyone working as a united effort to hopefully achieve some good results.”
The team, which also has support from the Florida Safety Council, will return to action at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17-20
Said Ferriol: “We couldn’t be happier to have Katherine and Christina back under the Team Hardpoint EBM banner. The team really gelled at Daytona and they both fit in right away with our crew. We’re looking forward to the challenge of running two cars and representing Porsche and all of our partners throughout the 2021 season, beginning at Sebring.”
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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.