at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Jonny Cocker set for debut race in No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages/Motegi Racing/Dempsey Racing Lola-Judd in today's American Le Mans Monterey Presented by PatrónDempsey Racing, with team drivers Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Jonny Cocker, will start third in the P2 class – and fifth overall in the field – in the debut race of the team’s No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages/Motegi Racing/Dempsey Racing Judd-powered Lola B12-80 Coupe in Saturday’s American Le Mans Monterey Presented by Patrón at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The No. 27 team, with Cocker at the wheel, qualified third fastest in the P2 class with a top lap time of 1:17.867 that ranked fifth overall among the 35-car entry. Saturday’s six-hour race, Round 3 of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, is the debut ALMS race for Dempsey Racing.
“There’s still a lot to learn but today we took a really big jump out of the times,” Dempsey said. “Working with Jonny has been really helpful with what I need to focus on and it has made a big difference, my confidence is gaining. We only got this car less than two weeks ago and Jonny did a great job qualifying third in class and fifth overall. It says a lot about the team, I am really proud of them, all of the guys and their hard work.”
Foster will start tomorrow’s race, Dempsey will drive the middle stint and Cocker will take the wheel for the run to the finish of the six-hour endurance event.
“It was a productive day today, we got Patrick a bunch of seat time so his lap times came tumbling down,” Foster said. “I think I did 10 laps this morning, I am still learning as well, and understanding how these cars work just takes time. We are going to do a lot more testing, and so far the team is functioning very well, we are learning a lot but we are not at the level where we want to be, but that will come with time.”Cocker, with solid experience in the Lola prototype, is serving as both coach and co-driver in No. 27 Lola-Judd.“The whole car and program is only two weeks old so to qualify third in class is obviously good,” Cocker said. “For sure, there is a lot of work to do, but these things take a little bit of time really and we will continue to work hard with the car. The general feeling with the team is good. The car is in one piece and I am looking forward to the race.”The team is approaching Saturday’s endurance race as an extension of the team’s recent shakedown test last weekend at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.“Now we are just looking forward to continuing on with basically the testing,” Dempsey said. “We are going to take that attitude into the race. It’s really kind of a public test for us and we will see what we can do.”The Mazda Raceway debut is the first event in a long-term ALMS and international sports car racing program for Dempsey Racing that includes a partial schedule of races this year, fulltime competition in future seasons and a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans as soon as 2013.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. EDT on Sunday, May 13. Live coverage is available Saturday starting at 4:15 p.m. EDT on ESPN3.