And a massive win for our motorsports team.
The Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona is one of the most demanding races around. For a team to finish alone is a testament to the design and engineering of the car, and the level of teamwork and skill provided by the crew and driver. Focus and determination are required.
On Jan 27, 2017, we and our partners in racing, Alegra Motorsports, proved we had just that. In a field of over 50 cars, the Alegra Motorsports/Porsche Oakville Motorsports team drove their Porsche 911 GT3 R into the history books. After qualifying 8th in their class, Daniel Morad found himself mid-pack in a field dominated by Acura NSX GT3s and Lexus GT3 RC Fs heavily supported by their manufacturing partners, Ferraris, and more Lamborghini Huracans than should be legal.
Our No. 28 car in its gold and green livery was not considered a threat, many teams having more experience than our crew. But with Morad (26) coming off a win in the 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and the International Motorsports Association’s North American Driver Championship, the team was not to be written off. Also taking the wheel was Michael de Quesada (17), still hot from his first championship season in the GT3 Cup Challenge USA in the Gold Class; Jesse Lazare (19), riding a high from a winning season in the GT3 Cup Challenge USA; Michael Christensen (26), a Porsche Works driver and late addition to the team who brought the experience of several Porsche endurance wins; and Carlos de Quesada (46), the group veteran who won the Rolex 24 back in 2007. A deep bench, to be sure.
But nothing comes easy at the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona. This year’s race was described as one of the most challenging since its inception 55 years ago—drivers faced challenging conditions including deluges of rain, which forced drivers to suspend racing while the course was cleared of water. Temperatures changed drastically, falling quickly in the evening, causing the high-performance tires to slip. Multiple collisions occurred as the 50 plus cars navigated the 3.5-mile course. Some were unable to continue.
Our own No. 28 car experienced a heart-stopping moment when it collided with a Ferrari, which knocked it off track. Fortunately for the team, the damage was minimal and the car was still fit to race.
As dawn broke over Daytona Beach, the remaining cars drove on, with our boys still on the hunt. With 30 mins remaining, they’d managed to claw their way to second, which seemed their destiny. But if you’ve been following the Alegra/Porsche Centre Oakville team at all, you know that they #nevergiveup.
The leading Audi and our Porsche 911 GT3 R dove into the pits neck and neck. Seconds later, the Alegra/Porsche Centre Oakville team had managed one of the cleanest pit stops of the day and Christensen exited pit lane in first. He would defend the position for the remainder of the race and cross the line 0.2 seconds ahead of the Audi.
It was a thrilling race with a nail-biting finish and one of the team’s biggest wins to date. Congrats to the entire crew. What a way to kick off our 2017 motorsport season!
Date Posted: February 16, 2017