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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

Strong 7th place for the all-Female team at Petit Le Mans (GTD class)

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

It was the last race for the girl gang Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen and Bia Figueiredo with Heinricher Racing at Petit Le Mans this season. They started P5 in the GTD class and finished P7.

Photo by Sunday Group Management

The first complete season of an all-female team ended with the last IMSA SportsCar Championship round - the 10 hour Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta track.

Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen and Bia Figueiredo started with Heinricher Racing on the home track of Katherine Legge, where she finished second in 2018. But Christina Nielsen had achieved some success here too in the past, as she started on pole in 2014 and 2017 and finished on the podium in 2016. That year and in 2017, she went on to win the GT Daytona class with her teammate Alessando Balzan and she was the first woman to win a full season sportscar championship in North America. For Bia Figueiredo, this was the first start at Road Atlanta.

The team started on P5 on the grid with Christina Nielsen in the car. After they had some solid hours of race pace, the team was in contention for podium positions during the night and finished on seventh place at the end of the race. It was a race of 417 laps, 202 of them spent in the top 5 with 10 pit stops over the distance. They completed a historic full season of an all-female driving team to compete in the 50 years of IMSA.

The GTD was the class with the most starters: twelve cars battled for positions. The title fight in GTD class was decided early on, since points leaders Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman just had to start the race. They didn´t finish though, because of a technical issue, but the title victory in the GTD class was theirs.

There was some last lap drama as the GTD leader for many hours - the Riley Mercedes - rolled out after running out of fuel. Tuner-BMW took home the victory in the old hands of Bill Auberlen on his 51st birthday, Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern. Joining them on the podium were the Land-Audi and the Pfaff-Porsche. The unlucky Riley-Mercedes was classified in fourth place one lap behind.

The overall winner was the Action Express Racing Cadillac with Nasr/Derani/Curran, but 4th place in the Petit Le Mans was enough to give the IMSA championship to Team Penske with Montoya/Cameron by only five points.

Katherine Legge:

"To finish the season with an effort like this is special. We came into this year hoping to highlight and empower females and I think we were able to do that. Petit was a grueling race as it always is, but Bia and Christina both did a fantastic job to have clean, strong stints. I have to thank Jackie Heinricher, Meyer Shank Racing and the entire crew for all of their hard work this season.”

Christina Nielsen:

“I think today, and this entire season, everyone did their best and did everything they could. It wasn’t perfect but there were a lot of good elements today. I’ve learned a lot being with Heinricher Racing and Meyer Shank Racing this season so I want to give a huge shoutout to the team for having me onboard. I really enjoyed it and I look forward to celebrating the team and the championship-winning sister car at the banquet.”

Bia Figueiredo:

“First I’d like to thank Heinricher Racing, Meyer Shank Racing and Caterpillar for inviting me onboard this amazing all-female team. I got to know both Katherine, Christina, Simona and Jackie throughout the season and they are all amazing, hard-working women who have been so successful in each of their own careers. I’m so thankful to be a part of this team. Of course, we wanted a win and a podium today but things didn’t work out for us. It’s been a great year and I’m so thankful to be a part of this team.”


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