Rolex 24-Winning Carlos and Michael De Quesada Set for Daytona Return in Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA
Thursday, October 26, 2017

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The last time the father and son duo of Carlos and Michael de Quesada were at Daytona International Speedway – last January’s 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona – they were celebrating a GT Daytona (GTD) class victory alongside their Alegra Motorsports teammates, Daniel Morad, Michael Christensen and Jesse Lazare.

Against a stout field, the Alegra quintet put together a masterful race in their No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 R. On Nov. 8-12, the de Quesadas and the No. 28 Porsche will be back at Daytona International Speedway for the Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA, a 24-Hour race sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) featuring a variety of vintage race cars.

Mind you, the No. 28 Porsche just will be on display this time around. It won’t be racing in the event – not this time anyway – but Carlos and Michael de Quesada will be busy in four other race cars prepared by the Alegra Motorsports team and Crew Chief Tony Ditto.

The event features historic sports cars broken up into six different run groups based primarily on the eras in which they originally raced. Beginning on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 11 and running for 24 consecutive hours – each group will have four, one-hour races during the 24 hours, each starting six hours apart – the Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA is nonstop racing action.

The Alegra team has four cars in the three groups, including the team’s 2007 Porsche 997 in which Carlos de Quesada won his first Rolex 24 At Daytona along with a 2013 BMW/Riley Daytona Prototype both competing in “Group E.” Another entry in “Group F” will see the de Quesadas sharing a 1973 Porsche 911 and the team’s fourth entry, a 1990 Porsche 962 in “Group C” is the one that is getting the most attention.

“(The 962) is chassis 148,” said Carlos de Quesada. “It was raced by Rob Dyson. It was the last IMSA 962 built. It won Tampa, and I think it finished third at Daytona. It was a Rain-X car and it’s in the same livery now.”

Carlos de Quesada and another previous Rolex 24 At Daytona winner, Spencer Pumpelly, will drive the 962 during the Classic 24. Pumpelly helped call the team’s strategy during the Alegra team’s 2017 Rolex 24 victory and joined the team’s driver lineup at this year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

“I had Spencer Pumpelly reach out to me saying that it’s been his long dream to drive a 962,” said Carlos. “I’m fulfilling that bucket list for him, because he’s been great for us this year.”

During the interview for this story, the younger de Quesada made his own impassioned plea for some seat time in the famed Porsche IMSA GTP race car.

“I’m going to put my dad on the spot here,” Michael said. “Maybe you could be so kind as to let me drive the 962? I would be so very thankful. All I want are three laps. Three laps is all I’m asking for.”

“Now I’ve got my son begging me to drive it,” Carlos replied. “The most popular car that everyone’s been bugging me on is the Porsche 962.”

The 962 is actually nine years older than Michael de Quesada, who celebrates his 18th birthday this Sunday (Oct. 29). But the significance and history of that car and the other vintage cars in the HSR garage isn’t lost on him.

“I grew up around all these vintage cars,” Michael said. “My father used to do a lot of vintage racing…”

“One year, he went trick-or-treating at an HSR event at Daytona,” Carlos interjected.

“I grew up in the environment of vintage Porsche cars, for sure,” Michael continued. “My dad’s always been a fan. It just reminds me of my childhood and being at an HSR event. It means a lot.”

So much so that Michael will bring a different mindset with him to the Classic 24 as compared to when he raced in the Rolex 24 At Daytona or other IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama events this past season.

“I’m not really trying to win at an event like this,” he said. “I’m just trying to enjoy driving the cars. If you go into a Classic 24 trying to win, that’s when a lot of bad things can happen. Very costly things can happen. This is the one time in my life when I would say I’m really not trying to win anything. Just experience the cars for what they are.”

It’s been Ditto’s responsibility to prepare the cars for the drivers to experience. And he’s expecting it to be quite a thrill for the drivers.

“These guys will really get to feel what these cars were like back in the day,” he said. “These cars, man, they’re totally different animals. It’s a lot of fun to see them. They’re loud, they’re crazy, they’re not too comfortable, but to work on them – as long as we have the parts and the guys take care of the cars – it’s really not too bad.”

Getting back to that No. 28 Porsche and the team’s 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona win, the car competed in the full 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Morad as its full-season driver alongside a rotating cast of Porsche factory drivers and Michael de Quesada when he was available. The team finished seventh in the final GTD standings this year.

Don’t be surprised to see that car compete in a future Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA. HSR rules require at least a five-year gap from a car’s introduction to be eligible, but Carlos de Quesada has already been thinking ahead.

“This whole year, I was like, ‘Guys, whatever you do, don’t crash it,’” Carlos said. “’Cause that’s going to be our vintage car.’ We’re keeping every used part. We’re keeping everything for it, because we do plan on holding onto this car for vintage.”

Tickets for the Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA are available now at HSRTickets.com

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