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Dempsey Racing solid in Rolex testing

DAYTONA BEACH - Dempsey Racing concluded three days of testing Sunday with two teams on the Daytona International Speedway 3.56-mile road course at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona and quickly shifted into preparations for the season-opening Rolex 24, January 23 - 26.

The No. 28 Dempsey Racing/Konrad Motorsport Porsche 911 GT America, co-driven by Porsche Junior Driver Klaus Bachler, Christian Engelhart, Rolf Ineichen, Lance Willsey and team owner Franz Konrad, posted the fifth overall fastest time in the GTD class with a lap at 1:48.302 (118.336 mph).

The top lap was turned in the third practice run of the weekend Saturday morning and was the second fastest GTD-class lap of that session.

The No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America, co-driven by Patrick Dempsey, Andrew Davis and Joe Foster, in turn gained valuable information during the test, posting a top-10 time of 1:48.867 (117.722) also in the Saturday morning session.

On Friday, Dempsey Racing announced Porsche Factory driver Marc Lieb would join its existing lineup for the No. 27 team, which made the squad a greater Rolex 24 At Daytona threat.

Lead driver and team owner Dempsey garnered valuable seat time during the test.

"I think I'm getting much more competitive, much more consistent lap times, a better understanding of traffic and a better understanding of how to talk to the engineers and express what I'm getting from the car," Dempsey said. "This is a great learning experience for us. I'm improving the more seat time I get, with the more experience I get. I'm feeling much more competitive. So when I show up at the track, I know that I have a shot at winning if everything goes right."

Dempsey and Davis will be full season teammates in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the ultra-competitive GTD class.

"We have learned a tremendous amount," Davis said. "It's been great working with our new engineer Jim Bell and with the entire crew. We have really pushed them hard and made a lot of changes, and that's what we have to do here at this test. We have to make changes after changes and learn stuff. Sometimes in the right direction, sometimes in the wrong direction, but every time you get the data, you learn from it. The goal here is to come back here with a great race car and do well in the race. I'm thrilled with the way the Dempsey Racing team is working, and Patrick and Joe are driving excellent as well."

Having participated in 12 previous Rolex 24 races, Foster knows what it will take to return Dempsey Racing to the podium. Dempsey, Foster and then co-drivers Charles Espenlaub and Tom Long finished third in the GT class in the 2011 Rolex 24.

"When we get back to the shop, we will take the cars apart and put them back together," said Foster. "Then we will practice pit stops a lot at the shop, and get all the equipment sorted and ready to go. It's a very simple preparation process but heavy on attention to detail."

Practice and qualifying for the 2014 Rolex 24 will be held Thursday and Friday, January 23-24, with the day-long classic scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 25. Live coverage will be FOX Sports.