• Hurley Day. Porsche Legend Celebrates Birthday. • Porsche Points. Jani Scores First Formula E Points in Porsche. • Sim-Sational. Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup Opens at Zandvoort. • PYDA Reflections. Michael De Quesada, Class of 2017.
Event Story Lines.
Hurley Day. Porsche Legend Celebrates Birthday.
Porsche legend Hurley Haywood celebrates his 72nd birthday on May 4. Long recognized as a leading face of Porsche, Haywood is the winningest driver in endurance sports car racing history with 10 major victories combined at the Rolex 24 At Daytona (five-times: 1973,‘75,‘77,‘79,‘91), 24 Hours of Le Mans (three - ‘77,‘83,‘94) and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (two - ‘73,‘81). Additionally, the resident of St. Augustine, Florida was the first driver to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same year (1977).
Despite his early career being put on pause to serve his military duty in Vietnam, Haywood returned to competition earning his first IMSA titles in the two seasons following his honorable discharge from the United States Army (1971, ’72). He added titles in the IMSA SuperCar Championship (‘91), North American GT Endurance Championship (’94), SCCA Trans-Am Championship (’88) and was a three-time Norelco Cup champion.
Not restricting himself to only sports car racing, Haywood was the 1980 Indianapolis 500 Fastest Rookie qualifier, made 18 Indy car career starts and was a four-time participant in the International Race of Champions (IROC) series (‘86,‘89,‘92,’95).
Despite making his last professional start in 2012 – a podium finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona – the Chicago-born driver remains a key figure not only at Porsche but in motorsports. His accolades have garnered him recognition as an inductee in the Florida Sports Hall of Fame (1992), Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (2005), Sebring Hall of Fame (2010) and Watkins Glen's prestigious 'Legends of the Glen'. In 2013, he was named Grand Marshall for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and followed as Grand Marshall for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019. The same year, he was named to the Pride50 list as one of 50 "trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people".
Today, Haywood remains extremely busy representing Porsche. He was the Executive Vice President and co-owner at Brumos Porsche prior to the legendary dealership’s purchase and change to Porsche Jacksonville (Florida). Additionally, Haywood serves as Chief Driving Instructor for the Porsche Track Experience and is a co-creator of the North American Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA).
In 2017, IMSA and Porsche joined to honor Haywood as the namesake of the Hurley Haywood Scholarship. The Scholarship is bestowed to young driver who best personifies Haywood’s character and skill at the PYDA. The multi-faceted scholarship supports the driver in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. 2020 recipient Riley Dickinson is the fourth driver to carry the distinction following Sean McAlister (2019), Max Root (2018) and Jake Eidson (2017).
In 2018, Haywood’s life was chronicled in the hugely popular book Hurley: From the Beginning. The book, with 420 pages and over 650 photos, has become an instant classic. Additionally, a movie documentary “Hurley” debuted in 2019 and is available on multiple streaming platforms.
Porsche Points. Jani Scores First Formula E Points in Porsche 99X Electric.
Neel Jani (Switzerland) has chalked up his first points for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team at the second race of the digital “Race at Home Challenge” in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/2020. After starting from eleventh position, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team factory driver moved up seven places during the race. Driving the virtual version of the No. 18 Porsche 99X Electric, Jani crossed the finish line in fourth-place. The result at the digital “Electric Docks” racetrack gives him twelve points in the overall standings.
Jani’s teammate André Lotterer (Germany) gave a strong performance in qualifying to secure third-place on the grid. He had a good start in the virtual No. 36 Porsche 99X Electric, moving into second-place. However, Lotterer made an error in the tight chicane at the end of the start-finish straight on lap three. He spun around and fell back to 19th-place. The Porsche “works” driver finished the race in 17th-position.
The event for Formula E drivers was preceded by the “Challenger Grid” race. This primarily featured experienced sim racers with Simona De Silvestro (Switzerland) representing the Porsche brand. The test and development driver for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team gave a strong performance on her maiden appearance in the “Race at Home Challenge”. Starting from 22nd on the grid, she moved up ten places during the race and crossed the finish line in twelfth.
The “Race at Home Challenge” was launched as a replacement for the standard ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/2020 season races that have been postponed due to the current crisis. All the Formula E teams and a selection of top Esports drivers are taking part in two separate starting fields. The drivers participate in the virtual races in their race simulators at home.
The events follow the traditional Formula E scoring system, with bonus points awarded for pole position and the fastest race lap. Double points will be awarded in the final race of the season.
Race three of the championship will take place on May 9. The online races will be contested each week through the grand finale on June 7. Each live broadcast gets underway at 10:30 a.m. EST on the Formula E YouTube Channel.
The “Race at Home Challenge” is a partnership between the FIA Formula E Championship and the child welfare organization UNICEF, which will be receiving the donations raised during the race events.
Marco Ujhasi, Manager, Esports at Porsche Motorsport.
“What a thrilling second race in the ‘Race at Home Challenge’! There are a lot of positives to take from it - especially our first points. Starting from eleventh, Neel was able to show his full potential in the race as he battled his way to an excellent fourth-place with an error-free drive. André did a superb job in qualifying and the third-best time was the maximum he could have hoped for. He then took a big risk after the second lap but fell back after a driving error on turn one. Unfortunately, that prevented him from recording a top result. Simona also put on a great performance in the competitive Challenge Grid category, making up ten places in the event for professional sim racers.”
Neel Jani, Driver, No. 18 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“I am very pleased with the fourth-place and those first points in the second race of the ‘Race at Home Challenge’. I started well from eleventh position and was able to move up a few places. My pace was promising after that and I concentrated on producing an error-free race. Qualifying was not ideal. The lap could have been better. I will concentrate on qualifying in particular for the next race.”
André Lotterer, Driver, No. 36 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric. “Qualifying went really well. I was pleased with the third-fastest time. I started the race well and moved up to second-place. Unfortunately, I then made a mistake on turn one and fell back a long way. It’s a shame as a podium finish would have been possible. E-racing can be just as tough as real racing, but we still gave a good performance and we are on the right track.”
Simona De Silvestro, Driver, No. 36 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“My first virtual Formula E race in the ‘Race at Home Challenge’ was a lot of fun. Qualifying was not perfect, but I was able to find my rhythm in the race. I got through turn one cleanly after the start and I was able to move up a few places as the race progressed. All in all, I am pleased with twelfth-place when you consider the strength of the sim competition in the Challenge Grid category. I will continue to prepare intensively for the next round.”
Sim-Sational. Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup Opens at Zandvoort.
It was a successful start to the second season of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup for Graham Carroll and Sebastian Job. The British duo from the Red Bull Racing Esports squad won the first two races of the 2020 season on the Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands. Carroll crossed the finish line first in the 15-minute sprint race, with Job winning the 30-minute main event on May 2. While last year’s champion Joshua Rogers (Australia) claimed a podium spot in the VRS Coanda Simsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car during the main race, Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen (the Netherlands), piloting a simulated Porsche for Team Redline, cut through the field to finish in eleventh-place. Forty sim racers lined up to contest the opening round of the Porsche Esports championship on the iRacing simulation platform including Americans Brian Lockwood (Tallahassee, Florida) and Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate Mitchell deJong (Temecula, California).
Lockwood, who is a regular real-world driver in North American sports car racing, presented himself well in his debuted in the series. The Floridian finished with a podium, third-place, in the Sprint race and in fifth-place for the feature event. Formula 1-star Verstappen made his debut in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup as the local hero. Finishing 21st in the sprint race also meant grid position 21 in the main race. Still, the 22-year-old put in a spirited drive on the simulated version of the racetrack on the Dutch North Sea coast. Verstappen finished in eleventh-place in Race 2. deJong, who finished in fourth-place in the 2019 championship, took 15th-place in the main race.
The second event on the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup calendar will be contested May 9, with the virtual one-make cup competing on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. The circuit in Montmeló north of Barcelona offers a diverse track layout featuring a combination of long and tight corners. The race can be seen live on the iRacing YouTube Channel.
Marco Ujhasi, Manager Esports at Porsche Motorsport.
“The start of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup couldn’t have gone much better. Right up to the last corner in both races, we were treated to lots of duels and overtaking maneuvers. What’s more, the field is even stronger than last year. In the qualifying, the best 20 were separated by just 0.27 seconds. This underlines just how incredibly competitive our series is.”
Graham Carroll, Driver, Red Bull Racing Esports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the first race. Patrik Holzmann and Sebastian Job are two very strong teammates, and that, of course, is motivating. We aim to be as successful as possible this year.”
Sebastian Job, Driver, Red Bull Racing Esports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“Starting the new season with a win feels terrific. I spent the last weeks preparing intensively and I’m pleased that I was able to reward myself for it.”
PYDA Reflections. Michael De Quesada, Class of 2017.
One of the first manufacturers to create not only a “factory driver” group but also a “Junior” program, Porsche continues its efforts to assist young racing talent beyond its “works” team. Since 2012, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) have provided aspiring race car drivers from the United States and Canada an opportunity to develop their professional skills at the North American Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA). While tweaked each year, the PYDA syllabus is founded on the principles and practices of the marque’s European Junior selection process. The Academy puts four drivers through intensive classroom activities with the objective to broaden and sharpen talents not only behind the wheel but also out of the cockpit. While education has always been the hallmark of the two-day invitation-only event held each fall, the “Academy” is also a determining factor for the IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship. The annual honor provides the selected driver with a package of tangible assets to present to teams in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama for the upcoming season.
In the coming weeks we will spotlight one of the 33 drivers who have taken part in the PYDA. Since 2012, graduates have gone on to win races and championships in series around the world, both in Porsche race cars and not. To date, drivers have won five IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championships, 13 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge championships, three SRO-sanctioned championships, the Indy Lights Championship, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Petit Le Mans as well as races in NASCAR, Trans Am, Rallycross and more. This week, we look at Michael De Quesada (Tampa, Florida).
Michael De Quesada Highlights.
- PYDA Class: 2017 - 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona – GTD Class Winner – Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. - Porsche Carrera Cup - Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup - SRO GT World Challenge America
Like many kids growing up wanting to be a race car driver, Michael de Quesada began racing karts when he was under five-years old. It didn’t hurt that the Tampa, Florida native had racing roots that ran in the family. Michael’s father, Carlos, is the team principal of Alegra Motorsports which has been around since before Michael was born. When de Quesada was 15, he joined the family business and began driving sports cars in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. From 2015-2017, de Quesada drove in one or both of the Cup Challenges in the US and Canada, the highlight being crowned USA champion in 2016.
“The father-son dynamic is a little tough,” reflected an insightful de Quesada. “It’s always going to be less formal than a driver-owner relationship. Sometimes at the track things needed to be his way and that was that. My immaturity may have gotten in the way. It was nice to leave that environment and try something else that was new.”
Those new digs included going to Germany to race in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Carrera Cup in 2018. It was part of a new act in de Quesada’s career that started the fall before, during a weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.
“I was excited to learn at PYDA and keeping going with Porsche. To that point I had only ever driven Porsche and that was a big thing for me,” remembers de Quesada. “I was excited to see what it was like and what was to be learned.”
The then 17-year-old was one of four young drivers invited in 2017 to the North American Porsche Young Drivers Academy that takes place in Birmingham, Alabama. Mirroring the German marque’s European young driver selection process, the PYDA gives the chance for North America’s young talent to see what it takes to catch the attention of a manufacturer. The brain child of North America’s only Porsche factory driver Patrick Long, multiple partners and industry specialists make the experience one the young drivers won’t forget.
“I always looked up to Pat as a kid, he’s the only American factory driver,” the Floridian continued. “That’s a big goal and dream for me. I knew him decently well through my dad’s team, but this was totally different. It was great to get a chance to spend time with him.”
While Long sets the pace in the morning on track day, the PYDA is about much more than what happens in the car. Specialists in respective fields offer support in more ways than one, including media training, technical support and personality profiles.
de Quesada: “The classroom day is what you take on with you. It’s about how you carry yourself. You can have the talent, but I was young and probably a little immature. You want to prove yourself but driving fast isn’t what’s most important. I figured that out quickly and I think I got a lot more out of it because of that. I’ve carried that on wherever I’ve gone.”
At the beginning of the 2017 racing season, de Quesada co-drove to victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the GTD class. That win showed the potential the young driver had at the time. However, he has a long way to go to match the five victories the namesake of the PYDA scholarship awarded to the winner has. Porsche legend Hurley Haywood spends the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park sharing his experience and perspective with the drivers.
“I had never met Hurley. I knew who he was, and it was interesting to be with him. He’s pretty quiet and withheld but when he speaks you really have to listen. You just don’t get that type of experience unless Porsche is willing to provide that to drivers. They do it right.”
Having legends like Haywood and Long at the Academy are intentional by Porsche. In order to invest in young talent, the sportscar manufacturer pulls no stops when it comes to the program. The quality of the time and effort put into the PYDA hopes to reflect onto the graduates that go through it.
On return from Germany, de Quesada drove in the SRO Blancpain GT World Challenge in 2019. Now in 2020, he drives the No. 14 Lexus for AIM Vasser Sullivan. Alongside teammate Kyle Busch, who was running his first 24-hour endurance race, the quartet finished ninth in class in GTD. While he has had experience in a few races throughout his career, this is de Quesada’s first full year competing in the IMSA WeatherTech series.
Porsche GT Team (North America). @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing. @PorscheTeam
Porsche Motorsport North America. @PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica (Instagram)
Porsche Formula E. @PorscheFormulaE (Twitter)
@porsche.formulae (Instagram) Porsche Newsroom. @PorscheNewsroom (Twitter)
Porsche 99X Electric. #99XElectric
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. #911Cup
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. #GT4Clubsport
Porsche 935. #Porsche935
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. #GT2RSClubsport
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3Canada
Porsche Sprint Trophy USA West. @PirelliTrophyWestUSA (Instagram)
SRO America @SROAmerica
SRO GT4 America #GT4America
FIA World Endurance Championship. @FIAWEC
Intercontinental GT Challenge. @IntercontGTC
FIA ABB Formula E Championship. @FIAFormulaE