Patrick Dempsey turns 48 today, continues racing development (VIDEO)

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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.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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