As with any good acting gig, an effort worth taking a part in takes preparation. Patrick Dempsey has been in preparation for this role all of his life … the role of exotic race car team owner, car owner, and driver in the American Le Mans Series, North America’s premier sports car racing series.
Dempsey is set to make his long-awaited debut in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón six-hour race event this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The successful Hollywood film and television star … and Dempsey Racing co-owner (with seven year business partner/driver, Joe Foster), is confirmed in the lineup for the team’s Lola-Judd prototype – part of the LMP2 field at the American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón.
The decision to enter the Mazda Raceway round comes after preparing to become a competent sports car driver for four years in the Grand Am series and most recently, a successful shakedown and initial three-day test of the prototype Lola-Judd on Michelin tires at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City.
“It is nothing short of an awe-inspiring experience in every respect,” said Dempsey, who will be racing a prototype sports car for the first time. “It feels familiar but so much more intense – the braking, the acceleration, cornering and power, it is all on a much more dynamic level than the GT cars I have driven. It’s an amazing machine and it is incredible to even have the opportunity to race in a car like this at this level, and what better track to start with than Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This race will really be a continuation of our learning and testing process only this time in front of a bigger crowd. We should be able to accomplish much more development and familiarization during an endurance race.”
He is expected to share driving duties with his team co-owner Joe Foster and former ALMS Drayson Racing driver, Jonny Cocker. The addition of Cocker (Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion – 2005, British GT Championship – 2004) to the Dempsey Racing effort brings along a wealth of Lola car driving experience that Foster and Dempsy will benefit from. This will be much welcomed because it was only this March, Dempsey and Foster announced Dempsey Racing’s move into the LMP2 Class for a partial ALMS season in 2012. The team’s plans call for a full championship run in 2013 with the goal of an entry to the Le Mans 24 Hours in the near future, as well.
Dempsey Racing is a team effort in rare company by entering cars in two of the ALMS’s four classes. Henri Richard, Duncan Ende and Ryan Lewis will drive the team’s #25 PC car – an ORECA FLM09 also on Michelin tires. Two other teams have cars in multiple ALMS classes: Muscle Milk Pickett Racing (P1 and PC) and Lotus Alex Job Racing (GT and GT Challenge)
The American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón is set for 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 12, from the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. ESPN2 airs the race at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13. Live coverage is available starting at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
The Series’ website offers additional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch the Monterey round and all ALMS races live on ALMS.com.
This weekend, we almost can hear Patrick Dempsey say (under his breath/paraphrased) the famous quote from the movie, Sunset Blvd. … a street not too far from where Dempsey resides – “Alright, Exotic Automobile Racing World, I’m ready for my close-up.”
Promoter Test Day UPDATE:
Patrick Dempsey, making his LMP2 debut in Dempsey Racing’s new Lola B12/80 Judd. The actor/racer spun and high-sighted his Lola at the Corkscrew, which brought out one of two red flags.
Prior to Dempsey’s minor incident, co-driver Jonny Cocker, making his return to the cockpit of a Lola-Judd, posted the fifth quickest time overall and third best in LMP2 with a time of 1:19.698.
Dempsey Racing’s LMPC class open-cockpit ORECA FLM09 driven by Henri Richard, Duncan Ende, and Ryan Lewis ended up 11th out of thirty-four cars overall and 5th in class out of eight cars entered. Ryan Lewis is credited with the #25’s best lap at 1:20.952.
Qualifications UPDATE (from a “Tweet”):
Reminder: The American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón is set for 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 12, from the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. ESPN2 airs the race at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13. Live coverage is available starting at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
… notes from The EDJE
** Article first published as Patrick Dempsey Feels He Is Finally Ready For The Big Stage on Technorati **