Acting has opened a lot of doors for Patrick Dempsey, “Dr. McDreamy” of the ABC TV show Grey’s Anatomy and star of a number of motion pictures. But he has put in some long hours and plenty of hard work to turn the dream of being a professional race driver into reality.
This year’s American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón is the 14th race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. A number of drivers and teams seem to find Monterey as a home away from home given their amount of success at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit.
Who should you watch during the six-hour endurance race on May 12? Here are a couple of names…
MotoGP™ championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was joined by reigning World Champion Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden, Cal Crutchlow and CRT rider Randy de Puniet at the press conference marking the second MotoGP round at the Gran Premio bwin de España in Jerez.
Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, who has enjoyed significant success at the Spanish track over the years, taking the last two wins here in the premier class, is confident ahead of Sunday’s race and is looking to extend his lead at the top of the standings.
Project Libra is pleased to announce it will enter a Radical SR9 in the American Le Mans Series’ next race, the American Le Mans Monterey Presented by Patrón, on May 10-12 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
Open-wheel standouts Andrew Prendeville and Rusty Mitchell (a graduate of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear) plus one other driver yet to be determined will drive the car, which will compete in the LMP2 class in the 6-hour endurance race.
After a dazzling start to the 2012 season under the floodlights of Qatar, the MotoGP paddock returns to Europe for the Gran Premio bwin de España at the Jerez circuit. Yamaha Factory Racing arrive in confident mood following an inspired start to the Championship from rider Jorge Lorenzo. The Mallorcan claimed an historic victory for the first ever 1000cc MotoGP race, also his first at Qatar in the premier class. The Andalucian circuit is a favourite for Lorenzo with two successive 250cc wins in 2006 and 2007 and two premier class victories in 2010 and 2011.
Some may only take steps to be green around Earth Day (April 22), but the American Le Mans Series is green year-round and it brings its unique, eco-conscious style of racing back to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca May 11-12.
As Ferraris challenge the race track May 18-20 for Ferrari Racing Days, owners of the prancing horse may take their place alongside them in the paddock with the new Ferrari Car Corral.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s Car Corral experience includes two three-day general admission and paddock tickets with open grandstand seating, two souvenir programs and exclusive premium parking in the paddock with other Ferraris, all for just $75.
“We are inviting Ferrari owners to join in on the fun of this exhilarating single marquee race series,” says Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “Ferrari enthusiasts will have their own spot in the paddock amidst the action of Ferrari Racing Days.”
The series allows owners and gentleman drivers seeking to sharpen their skills to compete against each other on some of the finest race tracks in the U.S. and Canada. The vehicles have the same overall appearance and engine as road-going Ferraris while utilizing track-oriented modifications and features.
Ferrari 458s will compete against their predecessor the F430s in the Ferrari Challenge. There will also be separate 599XX and FXX races. The highlight of the weekend might just be the F1 Clienti races, where the high pitch whine of these extraordinary machines reverberates through the race track and surrounding hillside. There is a nothing like the sound of an F1 tearing down the straightaway.
There are plenty of rivalries and Northern California fans will have to choose their favorites at the American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patrón, May 11-12, 2012 with at least nine regional drivers competing.
The American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patron is a six-hour endurance race that features multiple classes of high-tech sports cars competing together with constant passing and on-track battles throughout. The race takes competitors from daylight to dusk and into the darkness, pushing drivers’ and crews’ mental and physical abilities.
The 2012 race will feature Northern California natives:
Townsend Bell (San Francisco) calls Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the birthplace of his inspiration to become a driver. In 1996 he attended a three-day Skip Barber Racing School class and said from the moment he was buckled in, a light switch went on, and he knew what he wanted to do with his life – race – and he hadn’t event started up the engine. This year he will co-pilot Alex Job Racing’s new Lotus Evora in the American Le Mans Series.
Ken Dobson (Carmel Valley) grew up just over the hills from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, worked as an instructor at the Skip Barber Racing School and probably knows the racetrack better than most. Today he drives in the American Le Mans Series with Butch Leitzinger and Rudy Junco in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09.
Memo Gidley (Novato) grew up on the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Northern California, living as “anchor outs” with his family in the San Francisco Bay, before moving to dry land and the town of San Rafael. His first foray into racing was with motorcycles, but a trip to the CART race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca convinced Gidley to pursue open-wheel racing. Gidely climbed his way up the ladder to Champ Car where he recorded three podium finishes with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. Gidley pilots the #5 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA FLM09 and comes into the 2012 ALMS season with four starts, three top-5 and two top-3 finishes.
Michael Guasch (Pleasant Hill) brings a lengthy and diverse resume to the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing lineup. Guasch’s racing background includes 2011 LMPC victory at Sebring with Genoa Racing, and a long history in IMSA support series and FIA GT3 competition.
Joey Hand (Sacramento) is in the midst of his busiest season yet, racing in both the American Le Mans Series stateside and German Touring Cars (DTM) in Europe. Hand is on a mission to defend his 2011 GT drivers’ championship that he shared with co-pilot Dirk Mueller in the No. 56 BMW E92 M3. He is a two time 12 Hours of Sebring GT winner (2011 and 2012) and a winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona (2011).
Seth Nieman (San Francisco) is a driver and team principal for Flying Lizards Motorsports piloting the No. 44 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Now in its ninths season of competition, Flying Lizard Motorsports won GT championships in 2008 and 2009.
Greg Pickett (Alamo) leads Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and their new Honda-powered P1 entry. Since entering the American Le Mans Series in 2008, the team has seven wins and has been runner-up in the championship the past two seasons.
Henri Richard (Los Altos Hills) returns to the Prototype Challenge class (PC) with Dempsey Racing. Last year he competed in the PC class with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, prior to which for drove with TRG Porsche in GT Challenge (GTC). Richard is a former Ferrari Challenge competitor who got his start racing 125cc motorcycles and rallies in his native France.
Johannes van Overbeek (Oakland) is consistently a championship contender in the American Le Mans Series, returning for his third season with Extreme Speed Motorsports in the GT class driving a Ferrari F458 Italia with team owner Scott Sharp. Van Overbeek has posted race victories with both Porsche and BMW in his career and won the 2007 Porsche Cup, which is presented annually to world’s top independent Porsche driver.
Advance purchase general admission is $60 for a two day pass. Children 12 and under are free with paying adult. There is complimentary parking and VIP parking available for $30. Hospitality options start at $250 per person.