Alegra Motorsports has turned up as a surprise addition to the GT Daytona grid for Long Beach, and according to team owner Carlos de Quesada, it could mark the start of a season-long assault in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The quintet of Carlos and Michael de Quesada, Daniel Morad, Jesse Lazare, and Porsche factory driver Michael Christensen claimed an impressive class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
That win coupled with a 10th place class finish at Sebring has Alegra sitting third in the GTD standings, just 10 points behind the class leaders.
The Miami-based team had committed to the four-race Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup from the outset and expected to enter additional races throughout the season, but according to Carlos de Quesada, the strong start to the year forced them to reevaluate their plans.
“Daytona changed everything,” he told Sportscar365. “We always knew that we could be competitive at Daytona, and to actually win that race was really amazing.
“But again, we went in there with everything to win. We had a great lineup of drivers, the right team, the right car to run, so everything worked in our favor for that race.
“Sebring, things didn’t work out as well, but we’re still in the hunt for points, so I’ve decided to put Michael Christensen and Daniel Morad in the car for Long Beach, two very good drivers.
“Last week we were able to find a sponsor to help out, and that’s when they said they wanted to see us at Long Beach so we decided to go ahead and make the commitment.
“I’m excited to go there and see how we do.”
With limited space available in the Long Beach paddock, only full-season entries, known as ‘Premium’ entries, were guaranteed a spot on the grid, and Alegra as an TPNAEC entrant did not fit the bill.
De Quesada said that a little good fortune and some cooperation from IMSA made this possible.
“[IMSA] was very accommodating,” he said. “There was a rule that by February 16th you had to be signed up.
“Fortunately there was a cancellation, which was [Dream Racing], and because of that and we were the only non-Premium team that was interested in going and were leading the points [at the time], we were able to get that spot.”
De Quesada said the goal is to continue for the full-season as long as his team was in championship contention and the finances are in order, and added that Porsche ace Christensen is available to the team for nearly all of the remaining races.
“Michael is provided by Porsche Motorsports,” he said. “Porsche has been really supportive of us being out there.
“They’ve been absolutely wonderful to deal with, they always have. Any time I’ve requested a factory driver, whether we’re doing Daytona, Sebring, or any race, they’ve always been very accommodating.
“Michael has been outstanding. When it comes to making arrangements, we contact Porsche Motorsports and they let us know when he’s available.
“I believe for this year, the only race he’s not available for is COTA, but he’ll be able to make every other race.
“Like I said, we’re on a race by race situation. I did commit to the [TPNAEC] and I’m the type where I don’t want to overcommit and under-deliver.
“I don’t want to make promises that I can’t fulfill. My commitment was always the [TPNAEC]. If we’re doing well, we’ll push along and try to do the full season if we can.”