Joe Foster and Patrick Dempsey - Dempsey Racing photoEnlarge Photo
It's no secret that actor/racer Patrick Dempsey thoroughly enjoyed his experience two years ago racing in the 24 Heures du Mans, where he drove a Ferrari LM GT2 for far more hours than expected when one of his co-drivers became ill. It was quite the challenge for Dempsey, but one that whetted his desire to return to The Sarthe circuit for another stab at the quintessential twice around the clock endurance contest.
Although Dempsey Racing, established in 2003 as Hyper Sport, primarily focuses on the Grand-Am rolex Sports Car Series with a full-time Mazda GT program that's been running since 2008, Dempsey stated, during a Mazda promotion at the Le Mans track this past June that one of his goals was to return in a Mazda-powered LM P2 prototype, and that he hoped to do so in 2012.
That's not going to happen, but Dempsey Racing is conjoining with regular LMPC competitors Silicon Tech Racing (STR) to field a new car for the American Le Mans Series 2012 season. The announcement came from Dempsey, co-owner Joe Foster and STR team principal and driver Henri Richard.
"We've been seeking to expand our program base for some time and we firmly believe that we've arrived at the correct opportunity with Henri and his Silicon Tech Racing partners," Dempsey said. "Next year will be a big step for Dempsey Racing as we continue to work with our long-term manufacturer partner Mazda and as we expand into the ALMS. We have long-term, international aspirations and long-term international partners like Silicon Tech Racing and Mazda will help us achieve those goals."
The Dempsey Racing team remains committed to its Mazda Grand-Am Rolex Series GT program and will be announcing its specifics over the next few weeks, Dempsey said.
"Patrick has made no secret of his desire to return to Le Mans again and this cooperative venture is the first step in building the team in that direction," Foster noted. "We are planning additional announcements for both the Rolex Series and ALMS programs in the coming weeks, so stay tuned."
Silicon Tech Racing concluded its fourth season of competition in 2011. The team has multiple victories in ALMS and numerous top-10 results in the Ferrari Challenge, Porsche Cup Asia and Grand-Am Rolex Series.
"Joining with Patrick, Joe and everyone at Dempsey Racing is an amazing opportunity for next year," Richard said. "We all seem to have mutual interest in using this [partnership] as a forum for our guests and business partners. According to media value reports, our team created over $10 million in media exposure in 2011, and at the very least I'm sure we'll have a lot more executives pushed by their wives and daughters to come out to the races! This is also another step forwards towards my ultimate objective: competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the prototype category," he said.
While Dempsey Racing and Silicon Tech Racing have become partners, it is highly unlikely that Patrick Dempsey will drive the LMPC Oreca FLM-09; Joe Foster is not expected to take the wheel either. The founding goal of Dempsey Racing was to ultimately expand to a multi-faceted motorsports program with teams competing in several different racing series; this relationship is a major step in that direction.
© 2011 Anne Proffit