American actor and racing enthusiast Patrick Dempsey, who stars as Dr Shepherd in the television series 'Grey's Anatomy,' still has high hopes of competing in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race on June 22 and 23. His race team Dempsey Racing have ended their long association with Mazda but Dempsey has teamed up with former Italian soccer star Alessandro Del Piero, reports The Sun
Long time race enthusiast Patrick Dempsey has shelved plans to compete in the Daytona 24 Hours race due to take place this weekend, January 26 and 27 to concentrate on a bid to be on the grid at the Le Mans racetrack at Circuit de la Sarthe in France when the world’s greatest 24 Hour endurance race roars into action at the traditional time of 3 pm precisely on Saturday June 22.
After partnering with Japanese car manufacturer Mazda, in which American auto-maker Ford formerly held a significant stake, the Grey’s Anatomy star had explored different options for his racing outfit Dempsey Racing but now seemed to have settled on the formation of a new motorsports team with Italian soccer legend Alessandro Del Piero
, who made over 500 appearances for his former club Juventus, as well as being capped 91 times for the Italian national side. 38 year old Del Piero still plays soccer in Australia with Sydney FC.
Speaking on the official Le Mans 24 Hours website
, John Foster, team manager of Georgia-based Dempsey Racing is quoted as saying, “We had a great relationship with Mazda for years, but between Patrick's objective of the Le Mans 24 Hours and the new diesel program that Mazda is currently developing for the ALMS / Grand-Am, we are no longer on the same wavelength and we decided to do our own programme. We have several options in the GT class... or LM P2 Lola B12/80 Judd . One thing is sure Patrick really wants to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans".
Dempsey Racing’s official website
reports that the newly formed Dempsey/Del Piero Racing team have submitted an application to participate in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours to the French based race organisers Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO)
. The new race team also expect to enter a minimum of two racing cars in the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
One of Italian soccer's all-time greats
Alessandro Del Piero was almost a one club man during his years in Italian soccer having joined Juventus in 1993 to play for their youth team. During his nineteen years at the Turin based club he netted over 200 goals. The culmination of his career with the Italian national side came in 2006 when Italy lifted the World Cup. In the 2006 final against France, which was tied at 1-1 after extra time, Del Piero scored in the penalty shoot-out to help Italy to victory.
In an announcement heralding the formation of Dempsey/Del Piero Racing on the Dempsey Racing website, Patrick Dempsey said,
“We are excited to join forces with Alessandro and compete at the highest levels of racing. Alessandro’s passion for winning and leadership skills will be invaluable, and he will play an important role in the development and direction of the team.”
Del Piero was equally upbeat about the new race team, saying,
“I have had a passion for motorsport since I was a young boy growing up in Italy. I am thrilled at the opportunity to team with Patrick. We expect to compete at a very high level and our central focus will be on winning championships.”
Dempsey/Del Piero Racing will now need to be patient before being told whether their application for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours is accepted. Decisions as to who will compete are in the hands of the ACO’s selection committee and it will be a few weeks yet before invitations are issued to applicant teams to participate at the test day, scheduled for June 9, for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.
Over the coming weeks, Dempsey/Del Piero Racing are expected to announce further details on their plans for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the American Le Mans Series as well as unveiling the team livery, sponsorship and driver line-ups.
Related article: Le Mans 24 Hours entries 2013 — An austerity-free zone