Porsche GT3 Cup Champions ready for Daytona 24 debut
Following a successful test at the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, Alegra Motorsports prepares for its 20th season in sports car racing at the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona from Jan 26-29.
Featuring an all-star driver lineup that includes 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada champions Daniel Morad (North America & Canada – Platinum Class), Jesse Lazare (USA – Platinum), Michael de Quesada (USA – Gold), and Porsche works driver Michael Christensen, the team will be point-manned by owner and principal Carlos de Quesada, who won the race in 2007 and is looking to repeat that victory ten years later.
Driving the new 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 R, the team successfully completed nearly 12 hours of on-track testing over three days, including a rigorous night session and cold and wet weather atypical of the Florida circuit.
“It felt slick out [there],” Carlos de Quesada said of the conditions on Saturday. “Right when you felt like you’re going good, and you felt like you had all the grip, it would step out. So you’re driving with caution, but at the same time you’re trying to push it. But the car’s been good– it’s sticking and it’s there.”
Alegra team manager Andy Greene was also optimistic with the setup and consistency of the car ahead of his 15th appearance at the race.
“It’s a very quick car,” he said. “We have five drivers who we have to get comfortable with the car, and obviously the changing conditions here at Daytona, but it’s performed well throughout the weekend and everybody is performing just as we expect them to.”
Morad, who made a standout appearance in the IMSA Weathertech prototype class at Sebring last year on top of his GT3 Cup Challenge championships, was especially pleased with the team’s progress throughout the Roar weekend.
“Everything is coming together really well,” he said. “We’re really fortunate to have a team that has as much experience with the Porsche platform and this race. Everything feels dialed in, and the communication with the drivers and team has been excellent. There’s some small preparations to take care of ahead of the race, but I’m really excited to see how it all comes together.”
Christensen, a Porsche works driver since graduating from the junior program in 2013, was confirmed ahead of the Roar Before the 24 and brings a wealth of Porsche experience to the team. Finishing first in the North American Endurance Cup driver championship in the GTLM class in 2014, he followed that with a third-place finish in the 2015 World Endurance Championship standings and a top-10 finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.
“It’s been great to work with the team already – it’s been a lot of fun,” Christensen said. “For sure it’s going to be a challenge – there’s a lot of competition out there, but I’m happy to be with Alegra and fight for this [race]. I’m sure we can do a great job.”