in the Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR
Patrick Dempsey and Andy Lally Competitive in No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup but Can’t Close on Leaders in Wild ALMS Race at Virginia International Raceway
Patrick Dempsey, Andy Lally and the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup team drove to a fast but ultimately frustrating sixth-place GTC finish Saturday in the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), the penultimate round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón.
Both Dempsey and Lally were competitive in their respective stints behind the wheel of the No. 27 Porsche and frequently had the race leader in sight. Dempsey raced into the top five in his opening stint while Lally moved to as high as fourth in his race-finishing run, but the team and drivers never found a way to build on their track position.
“Through the entire race you could see the leaders,” Dempsey said. “It’s a very competitive series, and it is going to go right down to the end. Andy did a great job and the team did a great job. It’s a little disappointing coming out of here in sixth place, but if you look at the lap times, everybody is running right there.”
Dempsey drove for just over an hour at the start of the timed 2-3/4 hour race before handing the No. 27 over to Lally. After falling to as low as seventh early in his run, Lally soon climbed into the top five. He was running in a tight formation of the top-six GTC competitors, with the leader in sight, with less than 15 minutes remaining in the race.
“We were actually pretty equal, just a tiny bit behind what the leader’s pace was,” Lally said. “We were just sitting there single file when we were fifth, and I didn’t want to be fifth. So I took a chance and tried a run on fourth, took a swing at it, but it caused me to make a little mistake. I dropped a spot and we came home sixth. Not a great day for us, but we will try to rebound and head to Petit with a good run.”
The Oak Tree Grand Prix saw one of the most spectacular accidents of the season early in the race’s final hour when the Porsches of Marco Holzer and Eduardo Cisneros came together in the high-speed entrance to VIR’s ultra-quick esses. Both cars were heavily damaged in the hard hit with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Cisneros flipping before landing on its wheels and on top of a tire barrier. Neither driver was injured in the incident.
“It’s a little testament to the safety of these Porsches that these guys walked away from a very, very big wreck at a very fast part of the track,” Dempsey said. “So, that’s good, and I am happy those guys are OK.”
Next up for Dempsey Racing and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón is the season-ending Petit Le Mans, October 16 – 19, at Road Atlanta.