15 giugno 2016
Le Mans, 15 June 2016 – There’s a woman among the 24 drivers participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Christina Nielsen is racing in the GTE-Am class, as part of the Formula Racing team, with the #60 458 Italia GTE. It’s her first time, but Lars-Erik’s daughter (Lars participated 5 times at Le Mans) has already achieved great results in America. She came in second in the GT-Daytona category for the IMSA SCC championship in 2015 and this year she’s at the top of the rankings with Scuderia Corsa’s 488 GT3, which earned the first victory for the new Ferrari turbo at the 12 Hours of Sebring. She is also racing in the European Le Mans Series as part of Formula Racing team.
The 58th Woman: Christina will be the 58th woman to participate in the most difficult race in the world. The first women were Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse from France, who raced in the 1930 edition. They drove a Bugatti Type 40 and took seventh place in the absolute ranking and second place for the 1.5 litre category. Siko was the first woman to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1932: she was driving an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 which she entered personally and drove with Louis Charaval in the 2 litre class. The crew took 4th place overall. Several women raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1930s: Suzanne Largeot, from France, deserves special mention, she won the 1.1 litre class in 1937 aboard a Simca with a Fiat engine which she shared with Just-Emile Vernet. The first woman to race with a Ferrari was Yvonne Simon, also French, who participated in the 1950 and 1951 editions with a 166 MM Coupé signed up by Luigi Chinetti and initially shared with Michel Casse and then, in 1951, with another woman: Betty Haig, from Britain.
The Seventies. Halfway through the 50s, women dropped out of the entry list for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They returned 15 years later with such excellent drivers as Marie-Claude Charmasson from France, who won two class titles, while Belgians Christine Beckers and Yvette Fontaine and Marie Laurent from France triumphed in the Sport 2 litre class in 1974. The last women to win at the Le Mans were Christine Dacremont, Marianne Heopfner and the great rally driver Michele Mouton, all from France. They drove a Moynet LM75, in 1976. Being the 58th woman to participate in the Le Mans (the 57th, in 2014, was Keiko Ihara from Japan) isn’t enough for Christina Nielsen, the Danish girl wants to follow in Michele Mouton’s legendary footsteps. Best of luck Christina!