'Grey's Anatomy' star to run Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR.
Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Patrick Long will reunite for the 82nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 14 – 15, returning in the GTE-AM class with Dempsey Racing-Proton for the second-consecutive year in a new Porsche 911 RSR.
Last year at Le Mans, Dempsey and Foster joined Long, America’s only Factory Porsche driver, for their best result in two appearances in the classic day-long race in France. The team led the competitive GTE-AM class – in which at least one driver per car must be a sportsman competitor who doesn’t make a living as a professional racer – several times throughout the race and battled for the race win and a podium finish before taking the checkered flag in fourth place.
Dempsey Racing is returning with top German Porsche team Proton Competition for next month’s race after a seamless and highly-successful initial effort together last year at Circuit de la Sarthe. The all-American trio of Dempsey, Foster and Long will again carry No. 77 on their new Type 991-based Dempsey Racing-Proton Porsche 911 RSR built to GTE-AM regulations.
“When we first raced at Le Mans in 2009 it took us several years to get back there to compete in last year’s race and I immediately realized how much I missed it,” said Dempsey, who led his first race laps at Le Mans in 2013. “The grand spectacle of the race, the incredible passion of the fans and the outstanding cooperation of the organizers make Le Mans the unquestioned highlight of our racing season. We are honored to be able to come back for a second consecutive year, my third time overall with Joe, and we are grateful to Porsche and all of our dedicated partners for making this possible.”
Long’s return to the team continues a recent trend of top factory Porsche talent joining Dempsey Racing at international endurance events as part of a multi-year brand and promotional partnership with Porsche AG. Long was the first “works” Porsche pilot to race with Dempsey last year at Le Mans, and his factory colleague, and LMP1 Porsche hybrid driver, Marc Lieb joined Dempsey, Foster and Andrew Davis at this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“To have the chance to bring this group back together completely intact and without any major team or personnel changes is an opportunity that doesn’t happen often,” said Long, who has GT class victories at Le Mans in his debut in 2004 and again in 2007. “We came very close last year to not only a podium but a victory, and Patrick and Joe drove incredibly well. I am ready to get to it, to just put our heads down and go after the class win.”
Long is part of the North American Porsche factory team this year in the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season and already has a class victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring. He first won at Sebring in 2005 and, in total, Long has a combined eight victories at Le Mans, Sebring, the Rolex 24 and Petit Le Mans.
Foster, Dempsey’s motorsports business partner, is the additional Dempsey Racing driver this year in IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar endurance races as well as joining Dempsey and Long again at Le Mans.
“While my on-track schedule has decreased, the off-track business demands of keeping our team moving forward is a fulltime job,” said Foster, who joined Dempsey as the anchor drivers in a ninth-place GT2 class finish in their 2009 Le Mans debut. “We are grateful to our partners in the IMSA TUDOR series, many of whom will be joining us at Le Mans, and, of course, we wouldn’t be racing at the level we are both in the United States and overseas without the great support of Porsche. We look forward to giving Porsche an even better race result this year at Le Mans.”
Dempsey, Foster, Long and Dempsey Racing-Proton will reunite for the first time this year for the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans pre-test, May 31. That event conflicts with the next GTD (GT Daytona) round of the IMSA TUDOR series in Detroit, and Dempsey Racing is presently finalizing its plans that weekend for the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America.