Actor, Driver, Team Owner Patrick Dempsey to Drive Powerful Mazda GTP Car
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
“I remember the GTP cars of the 1980s,” said Dempsey. ‘It will be fantastic to drive the most powerful Mazda IMSA car built in that era and compare it to my current RX-8 race car.”
Dempsey’s current team, which competes in the Grand-Am Rolex Sport Car Series GT class, fields Mazda RX-8 sports cars. He drives when his filming schedule allows it and other drivers take his place when he can’t. The Mazda RX-792P will be joined by 23 other GTP cars in the FIA Mfg. Championship & IMSA GTP race group at the event.
In 1981, purpose-built GTP prototypes were introduced in the World Endurance Championship. Brian Redman was the first champion of the GTPs, driving a Lola T600. 1984 saw the introduction of the Porsche 962, which dominated the series from 1985 to 1987. Nissan then took control of the series in 1988 but faced challenges from Mazda, Jaguar, Porsche and Toyota in the following years.
For Mazda, the GTP class was the final step up after dominating the GTU class in the 1980’s and winning the GTO Championship in 1991. The 1992 GTP effort utilized the four rotor engine design that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991. The car featured styling cues from the all-new 1993 third-generation RX-7 and was a crowd favorite. Unfortunately the GTP class was dying out at the time and the team never achieved on-track success during its short competition life.