Patrick Dempsey making Austin competition debut in No. 27 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
AUSTIN, Texas (September 20, 2013) – Andy Lally qualified the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup fourth fastest Friday in a wet but competitive 15-minute GTC time trial session that set the grid for tomorrow’s debut American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).
Lally’s top time of 2:28.553 (82.406 mph) was set on his fourth flying lap of the rainy qualifying session.
“It was actually a pretty fun qualifying session,” Lally said. “The wet qualifying sessions are always a little bit sketchy, challenging to throw that good lap down without wrecking the car. We did a lap that was only 300ths of a second off of the pole but the officials deemed that I jumped the curve too much in Turn 19. They took my lap away and my second best lap was only good enough for fourth. It’s unfortunate, but we know we had a good car, and we know we have a good car for them if it is wet or dry tomorrow.”
On Tuesday, Lally handled the driving chores in the first of two unofficial tests held this week at COTA. Dempsey joined him at the wheel of the No. 27 for Thursday’s second and final test of the week, in addition to getting some practice time earlier in Friday’s pair of sessions.
“The car was great,” Dempsey said. “The guys did a lot of work on Tuesday so the drivability was fantastic. I am glad we took the time earlier in the week to be here. It’s very tricky, the esses kind of close up on you, and there’s some technical parts of the track you have to really work on.”
Dempsey has made several promotional appearances at COTA in the past year, and even drove some non-competition laps during last October’s ribbon-cutting event, but Thursday and Friday marked his first time on track with a full field of ALMS competitors.
“You have to try to find a rhythm here and the heat, of course, is the big thing,” Dempsey said. “It is extremely warm in the car, but it is great we are racing here in Austin. It is a great city and maybe next year we can have a night race here! It would be a lot cooler for everybody.”
Dempsey, Lally and the Dempsey Racing team have finished fourth in the last three races at Baltimore, Road America and Mosport in Canada. Their lone top-three podium finish of the year was in May’s four-hour ALMS race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where they finished second.
Race-day Saturday starts with a warm-up session at 8 a.m. CDT before that afternoon’s race at 3:45 p.m. CDT.