Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen announced for rest of season by Team Hardpoint EBM

Katherine Legge Christina Nielsen
IMSA
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After being teamed a third consecutive year in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen will be full-time co-drivers at Team Hardpoint EBM for the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

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.”

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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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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III