Patrick Dempsey and team had a rough weekend in Laguna Seca but persevered.
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 5, 2014) - After a trying two-hour race, the first “sprint” event of the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Dempsey Racing and team drivers Patrick Dempsey and Andrew Davis endured to see the checkered flag in 20th place in Sunday’s Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“We survived,” said starting-driver Dempsey, who recovered from a spin just minutes into the race. “It was a good stint after the opening lap caught me out, I thought I drove well after that and showed good pace, it is just hard to come back from losing laps here and in a race of this length.”
Co-driving the Dempsey Racing No. 27 Porsche 911 GT America with Davis, Dempsey started from the ninth row, right in the thick of the nearly two-dozen strong GT Daytona (GTD) class field. A spin into one of Laguna Seca’s tricky gravel traps brought out the first caution period of the race but Dempsey quickly collected his composure.
At the back of the field for the restart, Dempsey shook off the spin and put together and ultimately strong opening stint, setting some of his fastest lap times of the weekend as he looked to make up lost ground.
Davis took over near the halfway point of the race and proceeded to work on the field in front of him. Pushing hard to recover lost laps and track position, he was just getting settled into his stint when an issue with his seatbelts coming undone forced him back in to the pits for assistance, losing valuable time in the process.
Davis returned to the track in position with the leaders, managing to hold station with them for the rest of the race, and proving the competitive potential that the team holds for the remainder of the season.
For Joe Foster, Dempsey’s motorsports business partner and frequent co-driver in endurance races, there were many positives to take away from the weekend.
“It’s a frustrating thing where Patrick had spin on the first lap but he got back on and drove through the field,” Foster said. “Of all things, we had the seat belts come undone on Andrew. Obviously, that’s unsafe so we pitted immediately. The seat belt buckle was fine, they were engaged fine so we’re not quite sure what happened. Then Andrew came out between the second and third place cars on track and stayed there for the next hour. So the pace of the car was good but we just had some bad luck today.”
With the upcoming annual 24 Hours of Le Mans pre-race test conflicting with the next GTD round in Detroit in early June, Dempsey himself will not return to the IMSA TUDOR series until the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 29, at Watkins Glen International.
“We’ll be back at it at Watkins Glen, we’ll miss Detroit since we’ll be testing at Le Mans, but I’m really looking forward to our third attempt in that race,” Dempsey said.
After a ninth-place GT2 finish in 2009 when he and Foster anchored the team, Dempsey and Foster joined factory-Porsche driver Patrick Long last year at Le Mans for a race-leading performance and fourth-place finish in the GTE-Am class in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.