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Being a famous TV and movie star might be enough to earn you a regular rotation on TMZ, but mere celebrity status won’t get a car named after you. So what did Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey do to deserve this honor?
Patrick Dempsey, known for his acting role on the medical drama television show Grey’s Anatomy, is set to compete in his first American Le Mans Series race this weekend at Laguna Seca raceway.
Patrick Dempsey may be giving up his role on TV’s Grey Anatomy in order to pursue his other passion – racing.
Known and loved as Dr. Derek Shepherd (aka Dr. McDreamy) on the top-rated series, Dempsey said that this year would be his last season on the show. Now we know why – he says he’d rather race then commit to another season.
Recently, Dempsey was testing his car at the Daytona International Speedway for an upcoming race, where he took time out to tell reporters that: “The biggest point for me in negotiations is getting time off to come race, so if I don’t miss races, I’ll probably stay on Grey’s Anatomy.”
Dempsey is planning ahead, and even though the show is a Thursday night staple, it seems that his heart is in racing right now. But if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, there’s no need to panic just yet. The actor still enjoys starring in the show, as it keeps it close to his family. Here’s hoping he can work out a deal that keeps him in the show and on the race track.
If you want to see Dempsey in action – on the race track, that is – you can catch him as he gets behind the wheel for the Grand-AM Series’ Rolex 24 (he placed third in this race last year). The race airs on SPEED network January 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET and January 29 at 9 a.m. ET.
More than just one of the stars of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey is also an accomplished race car driver, who knows all too well the dangers of motorsports. With this weekend’s tragic accident at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, claiming the life of Dan Wheldon, Dempsey is joining a growing number in the tight knit racing community who are raising funds to support the two-time Indy 500 winner’s family.
IndyCar driver Graham Rahal is spearheading an auction to help raise funds for Wheldon’s two sons, two-year old Sebastian and infant Oliver. Initially a helmet auction, it has since expanded with the latest driver to lend a hand being Dempsey, who has donated the racing suit he wore this summer when he drove Mazda‘s 1991 Le Mans winning 787B race car around the famed Circuit de La Sarthe. He even signed the thing.
Dempsey has long been involved with Mazda and currently owns Dempsey Racing, which competes in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with two RX-8 race car.
Official details of the auction are expected to be announced in the coming days. Those who want to help can also donate to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust fund at the Fifth Third Private Bank, , 251 N. Illinois St., Suite 1000, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
GALLERY: Mazda 787B Race Car
Marking the 20th anniversary of Mazda‘s victory in the world’s most demanding endurance race, the 24 Hour of Le Mans, Mazda has brought the winning Mazda 787B back from the dead.
Mazda’s 787B made history in 1991 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by becoming the first Japanese car to win the event. It’s victory lap was also its last as after 1991, rotary engines could not participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Jonny Herbert, who was behind the wheel 20 years ago, donned his nomex and racing helmet once again to hit the track. Mazda racer and TV star Patrick Dempsey also got a chance behind the wheel. Watch videos of the outing, plus an overview video of the 787B car’s 20th anniversary celebration after the jump!
Several weeks back Mazda announced it would return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, showcasing its 787B race car, which took the overall win back in 1991.
Now the Japanese automaker has announced that driving the car will be done other than McDreamy himself, Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey. While best known for his acting, Dempsey is more than just a gentleman racer having competed in motorsports for years and even founding his own racing team. While rumor is his Grey’s days are over, perhaps he should look to a full time career in motorsports, after his third place finish at this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona showed just how skilled behind the wheel he is. Dempsey will squeeze the “at speed” laps into his schedule, racing his Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 at Watkins Glen the week before, and then heading to Watkins Glen for the next round of the Grand-Am series.
“I’ve been a member of the Mazdaspeed family since 2007,” said Dempsey. “I race a three-rotor RX-8 in Grand-Am GT competition, and Mazda allowed me to drive the amazing RX-792P at Mazda Raceway last year. I love the heritage of the sport, and to be given the chance to drive THE car that scored the highest-visibility win in Mazda’s storied racing history is indeed an honor.”
With that win back in 1991 Mazda became the first Japanese automaker to win outright at Le Mans, a record Honda, Toyota or Nissan have yet to match.
In addition, Johnny Herbert, who helped drive the 787B to victory in 1991 will also take laps in the 700-hp four-rotor race car.
GALLERY: Mazda 787B
TV Star Patrick Dempsey, a well known amateur sports car racer, helped raise $60,000 for the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Dempsey Center for Cancer, Hope & Healing at an event at a Seattle race track Tuesday.
In exchange for a $1000 donation, patrons were treated to laps in one of four Ferraris, donated by Ferrari of Seattle and Ferrari North America. The cars were piloted by Grand-Am Series drivers Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, James Gue and Don Kitch Jr. Also in attendance was Garth Stein, a former Spec Miata racer and author of the best-selling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Dempsey, along with Team Seattle, a group of racers who support the Seattle Children’s Hospital, have helped raise $435,000 for the hospital in 2010. Their overall goal is $500,000 this year.
[Source: Team Seattle]
Prancing Horse takes all but one of the top ten spots
In class normally dominated by Porsches, Ferrari showed its motorsports might at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past weekend. Not only did Ferrari claim the top spot on the podium, it claimed all the others. As a matter of fact, Ferraris clinched nine of the top ten GT2 Class spots with position number five going to the Spkyer C8 Laviolette GT2R driven by Jarek Janis, Tom Coronel and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
The GT2 Class win went to car No. 82 F430 GT of the Risi Competizione Team driven by Jaime Melo, Mika Salo and Pierre Kaffer after completing 328 laps. This is the second year in a row a Risi Competizione car has won its class at Le Mans. The second Risi car, driven by Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele finished third. Between them was the BMS Scuderia Italia’s Ferrari with Fabio Babini, Matteo Malucelli and Paolo Ruberti at the wheel. The fourth position also belonged to Ferrari with British team JMW Motorsport and drivers Robert Bell, Andrew Kirkaldy and Tim Sugden driving.
“I’m proud of this wonderful result. Four cars from Ferrari on the first four places in such a prestigious race is a great satisfaction and I want to congratulate the teams on the result; the teams have worked so hard to prepare the best way possible for this race. I especially want to thank Giuseppe Risi, who with his team has gained the second success in a row,” Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa said. “It was a tough race, especially at the beginning when the cars from Ferrari had to fight against very strong competitors like the Porsches. When night fell Risi’s car took over the lead and didn’t cede. I’m especially pleased by the fact that nine out of ten F430 GT which started into the race crossed the line; this is not only a sign of competitiveness, but also of the car’s great reliability.”
As mentioned, Ferraris then rounded out the top ten, with actor Patrick Dempsey piloting the Advanced Engineering car to a ninth-place finish with the help of co-drivers Joe Foster and Don Jr Kitch.
News has just surfaced that Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy), will race at the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ferrari F430 GT race car.
Dempsey will race alongside co-drivers Don Kitch Jr. and 2008 Gran Am Koni Challenge Champion Joe Foster under the team name Team Seattle. The Ferrari race car will be prepared bu Advanced Engineering.
Team Seattle, which was founded by Kitch, has been operating for 12 years, working to create awareness and support of Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.
Dempsey, it should be noted, is not new to racing, having competed in the 2008 Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series with Hypersport Engineering in a Mazda RX-8. Dempsey will continue to be involved in the 2009 season as he purchased Hypersport Engineering, which will now run under the banner of Dempsey Racing.
When asked about his Le Mans effort, Dempsey had this to say: “while we remain 100% committed to our Mazda-powered Rolex Series program this opportunity to ally with Team Seattle and enhance its efforts to drive funding to Seattle Children’s Hospital and their Team France partner is an opportunity that Dempsey Racing is honored to accept.”
Kitch was eager to show his appreciation to Dempsey and commented that, “Patrick is by no means new to the Team Seattle campaign as he has been very supportive of the effort since we first met at the Daytona 24 Hour… he loved what we were doing and wanted to help in any way he could.”
The 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place on June 13-14.