Patrick Dempsey turns 48 today, and while the actor is probably better known worldwide for his role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” it’s his racing commitment and passion that drives him on a regular basis.
Dempsey’s team will run two GT Daytona class Porsche 911 GT Americas in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Dempsey will team with Andrew Davis for the full season in the No. 27 Porsche, with the full-season lineup for the sister No. 28 car yet to be revealed. Dempsey’s longtime friend and business partner Joe Foster and Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb join the lineup at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Dempsey Racing has a best finish of third in class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2011. Dempsey, Foster, Tom Long and Charles Espenlaub drove the team’s Mazda RX-8 chassis that year.
The team also plans a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where they ran for the first time (Dempsey’s second time as a driver) last year and finished fourth in class. The relationship with Porsche is a strong one and the team is expected to once again run in the GTE Am category there.
Dempsey was mobbed prior to getting into his car at one point in last year’s race, and co-driver Patrick Long performed the role of “pit lane bouncer.” See a video of that below.
Dempsey’s been a massive sports car racing ambassador as well, with the “Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans” documentary premiering last year to critical acclaim.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”