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Jan 27, 2014 - 07:32 AM
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Dempsey Racing Porsche Teams Persevere to the Finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona
Posted by: newsla on Jan 27, 2014 - 07:28 AM
Grand Am News
Dempsey Racing Porsche Teams Persevere to the Finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona


An encouraging start to the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona later gave way to a string of issues and challenges, but that didn’t prevent Dempsey Racing – and team drivers Patrick Dempsey, Andrew Davis, Joe Foster and Marc Lieb – and their Dempsey Racing/Konrad Motorsport teammates from making it to the finish of this weekend’s day-long race at Daytona International Speedway.

 

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Both the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America, and the similar No. 28 Dempsey/Konrad car of Klaus Bachler, Christian Engelhart, Rolf Ineichen, Lance Willsey and team owner Franz Konrad, ran competitively in the opening stages of the Rolex 24 before a slew of endurance race related issues set in prior to nightfall on Saturday.

Some bold driving moves during opening driver stints allowed the No. 27 Porsche to hold its own in the competitive 29-car GTD field that was debuting in the newly formed IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. But halfway through the race’s third hour of the day-long endurance event, the team noted fluctuating oil pressures and the car’s telemetry showed a water temperature alarm. Lieb, the standout German factory Porsche driver who was at the wheel at the time, brought the car to the crew’s attention to diagnose the problem that for a time was thought to have perhaps been terminal.

“The Rolex 24 At Daytona is just such a grueling event,” full-season co-driver Davis said. “It’s grueling not just because you have to push yourself to the limits physically, as well as mentally, but the crew does too, trying to prepare the car and stay up and fight through the pit stops. It’s also grueling because of the uncontrolled variables. So there are a lot of highs and lows, a lot of things happen during this race that you have no control of, both on the track and in the car. The race just really throws everything at you, whether it’s weather or it’s whatever, and this race was no different.”

After examining the engine and transmission, the team found a malfunction within the oil pump that caused the problem. Immediately going to work, the No. 27 Dempsey Racing crew capably returned the Porsche to the track approximately three hours later and completed the remaining 18 hours of the race without any other major issues.

“The team did great,” Dempsey said. “The guys worked really hard to get us back out there and get us this finish. The amount of energy, effort and emotion that they put into fixing the car really inspired us as drivers to compete, to make sure that we didn’t make too many mistakes out there so we could deliver a good finish. It’s a real testament to those guys and their will to win. Their desire to overcome obstacles was very inspiring. It was the most that I’ve driven the car, so that’s important. It’s different than what we were driving last year, but it’s a lot to learn, I feel good about that.”

Meanwhile, the No. 28 Dempsey/Konrad Porsche 911 GT America turned heads during testing and practice with its strong driver lineup. Unfortunately, during the overnight hours the No. 28 was forced off track causing extensive damage to the car. Ineichen, who was behind the wheel at the time, brought the car in for repairs. The incident resulted in the team losing 30 laps to the race leader and falling out of contention for the Rolex 24 At Daytona victory.

“It was a very up and down weekend for us,” Konrad said. “We had several problems from the beginning, we ran into trouble qualifying, but we started the race very well. Shortly after the race began, we were involved in a crash and fell an hour behind fixing it. Then, just 10 minutes before the before the checked flag, we had a wheel hop. The team was able to fix it so we could finish, and for that, I am very proud.”

Next up for Dempsey Racing and the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 12 – 15.

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