Patrick Dempsey - Hollywood Star and Race Car Driver
If you didn’t already know, Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey is also an absolute gearhead. And he isn’t just enthusiastic about cars either. The 50-year-old has been racing cars for quite a while now. In fact, he has mentioned in earlier interviews that motor racing had become as a much a part of who he is as acting. He has competed in well-established pro-am events like 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 at Daytona, and the SCORE Baja 1000. Last year, the American actor had turned his sights to the FIA World Endurance Championship with his own Dempsey Proton Racing team.
However, earlier this year Dempsey announced that he would be taking a step back from racing and focus on both his family and his acting career. He will still be involved with the team as co-owner. In this interview, Dempsey speaks about his fascination with car racing, his soft spot for Porsche and the aims he wants to achieve with his team.
Patrick, where does your fascination for motor racing come from?
My fascination began very early in my childhood. I always loved racing and cars since I was very young. My father would bring me home little Matchbox cars, we would watch or listen to the Indianapolis 500. I just always had an interest in all things racing.
Can you describe the feeling standing on the podium – especially in Le Mans – in front of thousands of fans?
This was my biggest dream come true. When you are standing up there in front of this massive crowd – it is hard to put it into words. It was so overwhelming and emotional in the best way. Especially when you think about the meaning and history of Le Mans and all the legendary race drivers who have raced there. I will certainly remember those moments for the rest of my life.
Are there other highlights of the 2015 season you want to mention?
I have tremendous, great memories from the 2015 season. I took my skills as a race driver to a new level which felt great. And working so closely with Porsche was really enjoyable. It was an extraordinary year. I look back at the season with great fondness and satisfaction.
How would you describe your new role as co-owner of Dempsey Proton Racing and the 911 RSR with the number 77?
It's great to be involved in motorsports from a new perspective. Last year I made the decision to mainly focus on motorsports as a driver. I raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship – one of the biggest and most rewarding challenges in my life. This year I am excited to support the team in my new role as a co-owner. Currently we are preparing for Silverstone and the team is doing a world class job. I will be present there for the first round of the season, as well as in Le Mans.
How often will we see you at the racetrack?
I’ll try to be at the races as much as my schedule allows me to. I have always been a huge fan of motor sports and I love taking on new challenges. My new role as a co-owner of Dempsey Proton Racing gives me the opportunity to combine both. So far it’s been quite a rewarding experience to learn about the managerial aspects of co-owning a race team and I can’t wait to kick off the season in Silverstone this weekend.
What makes it special to drive a 911 RSR?
Driving a 911 RSR is as exhilarating as it is demanding. It's a very powerful car and there is a lot of force acting on your body, so you need to be in good shape to put in consistent lap times. At the same time it's very well balanced. Feedback is great and it's easy to feel what the car is doing. Exactly what you want from a good GT race car. It still feels like a 911 road car, but it is even more precise and much faster on the race track. Above all it's a fun and thrilling experience. There is really nothing else like it.
In the past years you became an important member of the Porsche Family. How would you describe your relationship with the other drivers and all the other Porsche people?
I have always been a great Porsche fan. And working so closely with them is a truly inspiring experience. They're great guys. I have a tremendous relationship with everyone in the Porsche family including all the drivers. I love being a part of the team. I got so much helpful advice from some of the best drivers in the world. This was very helpful to improve my skills and achieve these great results.