Published — Tuesday 13 November 2012
Last update 13 November 2012 6:35 am
DUBAI: The Middle East’s most exciting and professional race series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, creates its own chapter in the history of the series by having the first female racing driver ever.
Christina Nielsen, who has made a big impression in Europe, will take her debut position on the grid alongside seasoned professionals and promising regional drivers in the opening rounds of the fourth season at the Bahrain International Circuit on Nov. 16 and 17.
The 20 year-old, born in Rungsted, Denmark, is no stranger to racing having competed in the German Porsche Carrera Cup and this year’s VLN Endurance Racing Championship on the Nürburgring. But she will be in new territory once the flag drops to signal the start of the first race, as the first female driver to participate in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
Speaking ahead of testing in Bahrain, Nielsen said: “I am thrilled at the thought of racing in the Middle East. The circuits look fantastic and I’ve only heard good things on the quality of racing and the organization of the series. By getting seating time and be able to compete I’m following my dream. I’m a competitive person, and I wish to grow as a racing driver from this experience.
“With only a few days to testing and the opening rounds in Bahrain I can’t wait to get started. It will be a steep learning curve but one that will help enormously with my development as a driver. I am ready for the challenge.” “I maybe the only woman to drive in the championship, but for me when I put my helmet on I’m just another one of the drivers. I set my own targets to achieve and focus on my own goals,” Nielsen added.
The Danish racing talent grew up in motor racing. Her father Lars Eric Nielsen raced Porsches at Le Mans and has since passed his love of speed and competitive racing to his daughter. She decided on a career as a racing driver at the tender age of 13, when she experienced the “adrenaline kick of speeding” in go-karting.
Christina began her race career in 2006 with four years of karting, driving for the renowned Zanardi factory team, Chiese Corsa, with whom she qualified and competed in the World Championship. From there it was Formula Ford in 2010 and the Formula ADAC Masters series in 2011.
Walter Lechner, manager of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East said: “The championship is a breeding ground for new talent independent of gender. We are happy to have made our own piece of race history by having the first female to compete in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. Hopefully Christina’s participation will inspire and encourage more females to take up motor racing either as a hobby or a career.” Lechner continues: “Christina is a brilliant driver with a proven pedigree and has clearly inherited her father’s love for racing. She recently competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany where she performed admirably so she will be ready for the challenge. I believe she will prove to be a worthy competitor.”
Nielson, explained she does not feel intimidated by the male-dominated sport and focuses solely on her own performances, hoping her entry into the series will be a platform for more female drivers joining the racing scene.
“More and more women are interested in motor sport, especially in Europe and America, and hopefully it will happen in the Middle East, too. All they need is encouragement and the chance to compete,” she added.
The exclusive one-make series, now entering its fourth season, features leading drivers and promising homegrown talent from the region. Twelve action-packed rounds across six weekends between Nov. 2012 and March 2013, will define an individual champion and a winning team. The Bahrain International Circuit is confirmed as a host for the opening and closing rounds of the prestigious championship.