Tampa has risen as a vibrant, dynamic and beautiful city that is well-positioned to become the home to businesses of all sizes and types, due to the vast opportunities unfolding and the overall thriving economic environment. The City of Tampa is the largest city in Hillsborough County and is the third most populated city in Florida. Not only an economic hub, but Tampa also thrives in tourism, heath care, finance, technology and construction.
The Tampa area outranked metros such as Dallas, Miami, Atlanta and Phoenix, as most affordable Top 20 U.S. metro cities. Tampa was also below the national average cost of living last year-so it doesn’t come as a surprise that population is on the rise.
Investing in neighborhood redevelopment has become increasingly important over the last few years in the Tampa Bay area. Currently there are eight community redevelopment areas, including: Central Park, the Channel District, Downtown, Drew Park, East Tampa, Tampa Heights Riverfront, West Tampa and Ybor City. Each of these redevelopment areas is helping to make Tampa’s neighborhoods more attractive, safe, convenient, environmentally healthy and financially robust.
As the lead spotter for Alegra Motorsports, 2017 started off with a big win, the Rolex 24. Winning the 24 Hours of Daytona with our 17-year old driver, Michael de Quesada, the youngest driver ever to win the Rolex 24, was one of the most exciting races ever for this seasoned spotter. Michael’s dad, Carlos (celebrating his second win in 10 years), Jesse Lazare, Daniel Morad and Michael Christensen (Porsche factory driver) were all in attendance to celebrate this grand event. For the entire 29 minutes of the end of the 24 Hour race, Michael Christensen held the lead while I held my binoculars the entire time while communicating the position of the second and third place cars chasing him around the track. Bringing him in for the win after a 3 wide push along the front stretch was exhilarating. As Michael crossed the finish line, my fellow spotters, all standing, erupted in yells and applause.
Sebring followed with the addition of 3 additional spotters; Fred Beasley was atop a 40′ boom lift shared with the Chip Gnassi Ford guys at Turn 1, Bill Buff at Turn 3 atop our good friends motorhome; yours truly on the balcony of a Suite at theChateau Elan at Turn 7, the Safety Pin, and Manny atop the Porsche bleachers at Turn 17. NO other team had 4 spotters. We were there for the win, but IMSA’s balance of performance (BOP) proved to be our downfall. No matter how hard Michael Christensen pushed the car, making it look like it was dancing on the track, he couldn’t keep up with the leaders. BOP is meant to equalize the field, the Ferrari’s, Lambos, Porsches, BMW’s, Lexus’ and Acura’s, but unfortunately for this race it didn’t work. We finished 10th.
As the points leader for Porsche GTD class, Porsche Motorsports twisted team owner Carlos de Quesada’s arm and persuaded him to race the entire season which brought us to Long Beach, CA for the Long Beach Grand Prix. Michael Christensen, again was fast, flawless and easily leading the race when an errant pit stop under a short yellow gave us the penalty that pushed us back to finish 12th. Much fun was had in Long Beach and as the favored guest of Porsche Motorsports at their new Carson City Experience Center, Jens Walther, President, Porsche Motorsports North America rolled out the red carpet for us.
At the May 6th COTA race (Circuit of the Americas-Austin, TX), our new on loan Porsche factory driver, young Mathieu Jaminet easily took the pole for GTD. I enjoyed spotting from the amazing 251′ tower and enjoyed an aerobic benefit from the elevator being out of service as I ascended the 23 story tower 2-3 times a day.
Halfway through the race, I assumed Mathieu would easily win this race with a 30 second lead in hand. Once again, BOP beat us causing us to finish 7th.
Stay tuned our next race coming up in Detroit.