Patrick Dempsey: Swapping Scrubs for Racing Overalls

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Acting is one of the most rewarding yet unreliable career paths one can choose. Dovetail that with a racing career and you are really stretching your luck. Yet it appears that for American actor Patrick Dempsey, the thrill is just too good to say no as he forges a new career as a fully-fledged sports car driver, swapping his hospital scrubs for racing overalls.

The delight of racing fans around the world as Dempsey led his own team to a podium placing at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE AM category came at a cost to fans of Greys Anatomy as they had to instead say goodbye to Doctor McDreamy. The 50 year old has been blunt about his desire to race full time, which he made come true in 2015 as he raced in every round bar one of the FIA World Endurance Championship in a Porsche entered by his team, Dempsey Racing-Proton, which he has been invested in since 2002.

Having raced part time for many years with acting taking up most of his time, it wasn’t until 2014 that he turned his attention to racing full time, telling Reuters: “It’s all-consuming in many ways. I couldn’t imagine not racing right now. It really keeps me motivated. It’s all I think about on a daily basis”.

He went on to tell Eurosport that if he “could walk away from acting, I think I could do that very easily” pretty much putting the nail in Dr. Derek Shepherd’s coffin.

Before turning full time, Dempsey has raced at prestigious events such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans amongst other GT categories of racing as well as running his Dempsey Racing team to compete in the American Le Mans Series. The Lewiston, Maine born racer has had a long relationship with Porsche, with the German manufacturer supplying his team with Porsche 997’s and 911’s for the past few years. He raced in one round of the Porsche Supercup, supporting the Formula One Grand Prix in Spa, Belgium in 2014.

For the 2015 season, Dempsey focussed on participating in the WEC racing in the GTE- Am class in a Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, teamed with Patrick Long and Marco Seefried. The trio took the team to new heights with a best result of first at the Six Hours of Fuji, second at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans and a ‘worst’ result of sixth, at the first round in Silverstone. They rounded off the season sixth overall in class with 116 points.

However, despite having his best year in racing yet, it looks unlikely that Dempsey will indeed follow up his stellar 2015 season this year. The Dempsey Proton name will still appear, but on a factory-supported Porsche 911 that will be driven by newly crowned WEC GT champion Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen next year, which is believed to fulfil the second of a two-year contract Dempsey had with Porsche. Despite this, it’s understood a GTE-Am class Porsche could still be fielded for Dempsey in selected WEC races, should his acting schedule allow.

Although Dempsey has indeed swapped scrubs for racing overall, it appears that he is not quite ready to go full time in the racing world. But if his 2015 season in the FIA World Endurance Championship is anything to go by, when he does turn full time, he will certainly be fighting at the front.

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