Though he’s no longer in the driver’s seat at Le Mans, actor Patrick Dempsey still indulges his passion for motorsports as a team co-owner. Dempsey-Proton Racing competes as a Porsche customer team in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). It also campaigns a 911 RSR in the European Le Mans Series and the US-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Patrick Dempsey at Le Mans
Having run the 24-Hours of Le Mans four times himself, Dempsey is familiar with the Circuit de la Sarthe. At his last race there as a driver in 2015, he finished on the podium with a 2nd place spot in the GTE-Am class. Out of his four drives in the 24-Hours event, three took place in a Porsche.
Patrick Dempsey has a long history with the automaker. According to The Sunday Times, his first car was actually a 1963 Porsche 356 Speedster, purchased with his first sizeable paycheck from acting. He still owns the vehicle, which has some star power of its own.
“They used the sound of my car in Top Gun. The 356 that Kelly McGillis drives in the movie is actually a kit car, but they used the sound of the real thing,” said Dempsey. “It’s such a special car. It’s the essence of driving — pure, simple, elegant, timeless, sublime. You can do anything with that car and no one has any animosity towards it. Both financially and emotionally, it’s probably the best investment I’ve ever made.”
Dempsey-Proton driver Andlauer ran the fastest GTE-Am class qualifying time
Piloting the 911 RSR, driver Julien Andlauer set the fastest time in GTE-Am to earn the class pole position at Le Mans 2021. With a best lap of 3 minutes 47.987 seconds, he won the prime starting spot by over half a second. Driving the #88 Porsche with him are Dominique Bastien and Lance David Arnold. The new Hyperpole qualifying shootout format returned for a second year at Le Mans
“It’s just incredible! The car was absolutely awesome – just like in the practice and qualifying sessions. We only had to refuel for the Hyperpole, fit fresh tyres and put our foot down,” said Andlauer. The team has done an incredible job over the past few days. A huge thank you for that. This is my first attempt at the Hyperpole – and I promptly set pole position. I couldn’t be happier. Now we have a long race ahead of us. But we’re definitely heading into the 24-hour competition feeling terrific.”
The Porsche 911 RSR
Starting with the rear-engine format of a Porsche 911, the RSR variant takes everything to the next level. Displacement for the flat-six motor grows for racing duty to nearly 4.2-liters and makes 515 ps (507.9 horsepower). Porsche moved the engine slightly toward the driver, just in front of the rear axle. Per reporting by Road & Track, this improves aerodynamics and weight distribution. Technically, it makes the 911 RSR a mid-engine car as well.
Dempsey-Proton Racing is campaigning two Porsche 911s in the 24-Hours of Le Mans for 2021. The #77 RSR is being driven by Christian Ried, Jaxon Evans, and Matt Campbell. With an uncommonly rainy start at Circuit de la Sarthe, we’ll be watching to see who comes out on top at the end.