after Third-Place Finish in Texas
Patrick Dempsey and Andy Lally Co-Drive No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in Saturday's Oak Tree Grand Prix
Patrick Dempsey, Andy Lally and the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup team will be riding a wave of momentum at this weekend’s Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) after their second podium finish of the 2013 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season two weeks ago in Texas where they scored a third-place showing at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in the competitive GT Challenge (GTC) class.
The second-to-last race on the 2013 schedule, the Oak Tree Grand Prix can be seen live online on ESPN3, Saturday, October 5, at 2 p.m. EDT. A repeat telecast is scheduled for the next day, Sunday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m. EDT/2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
Dempsey, the popular actor who has also been active in sports car racing for nearly a decade, is making his first appearance at VIR since 2011’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race.
“I love this place, it has a great rhythm to it, and I always love coming here” Dempsey said. “It has a lot of history, like a lot of the old school tracks, and I think the first winner here was Carroll Shelby. The esses are really challenging, the whole track is fast, challenging and fun. I am glad I was able to get here earlier in the week, and I have to thank Grey’s Anatomy for getting me out on time.”
The top-three finish in Texas was the first in four months for both the team and drivers after scoring a season-best second-place result at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. The Austin finish also broke a frustrating streak that saw Dempsey and Lally finish fourth in the three ALMS GTC races just before Texas at Baltimore, Road America and Mosport Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“We are coming off a great podium finish and I think we can carry that momentum through,” Lally said. “Every single week I show up at the track, we are not just looking for a podium, we are looking for the win. I haven’t raced at VIR in a couple of years but it was a welcome sight when I pulled in here, one of the coolest race tracks in the country.”
Dempsey Racing’s first top-five finish as a team happened at VIR back in 2008 when Joe Foster and Charles Espenlaub, subbing for regular driver Dempsey, finished fifth in just the team’s fourth career GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT race.
Foster remains Dempsey’s motorsports business partner and has raced in the No. 27 this year as the third driver at the 12 Hours of Sebring and with Dempsey on the streets of Long Beach. Foster also joined Dempsey and Patrick Long for a fourth-place GTE-AM class finish in this past June’s 90th Anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Virginia International Raceway was also where Dempsey Racing clinched its first and only team championship. Foster joined Scott Maxwell in wrapping up the 2008 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Challenge Series Grand Sport Championship at VIR in a Dempsey Racing Ford Mustang.
Race-day Saturday starts with a warm-up at 9:35 a.m. EDT before that afternoon’s featured Oak Tree Grand Prix that goes green at 2:15 p.m. EDT. The No. 27 crew elected to change all four tires after Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, and Dempsey will roll off from the eighth and final GTC grid position for the start of tomorrow’s race.
- The Oak Tree Grand Prix is appropriately named after the grand tree that for decades was the brand icon of VIR. The majestic Oak literally cast a shadow on the track from its towering location just inside of Turn 12, which was considered one of the most picturesque corners in all of motorsports. Sadly, the tree toppled under its own weight in rain-drenched soft soil after days of torrential downpours this past summer. “I have to tell you, it’s a little heartbreaking when you go around the Oak Tree corner and it’s not there anymore,” Dempsey said. “It’s really sad.”
- Lally has had some of his most memorable motorsports moments at VIR. “My last race I did here was my 100th GRAND-AM Rolex Series race in 2010 and we won it,” Lally said. “I can’t complain, I have won a few races here, and I have also had some really horrific testing accidents here. I flipped my first race car here and a couple of months later I went flying off at Turn 1, clearing the then guard rail, going by a tree and coming down in the trunk of another tree. I just nosedived into the thing. I am responsible for some safety additions to VIR!”