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Jun 20, 2013 - 05:33 PM
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Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster And Patrick Long Run Through Opening Practice
Posted by: newsla on Jun 20, 2013 - 05:27 PM
American Le Mans Series News
Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster And Patrick Long Run Through Opening Practice At Le Mans In Dempsey Del Piero Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR


Dempsey Del Piero Racing and All-American team drivers Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Patrick Long put in a productive day of testing in mixed conditions Wednesday on the opening day of official practice for this weekend’s 90th Anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans in the No. 77 Dempsey Del Piero Racing with Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

 

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All three drivers turned laps in the No. 77 Porsche despite ongoing rain showers and numerous action-stopping on-track-incidents, including one that caused the early evening session to be cancelled early.

Dempsey, Foster and Long are the only All-American driver lineup among the race’s 55 entries and have developed an international following as #TeamAmerica.

“It was just nice to get back in the car after being here for a few days,” Dempsey said. “I love all the activities that are around the track leading into the race but nothing much has to do with actually being in the car. Once you drive, that gets rid of some of the jitters, some of the nervousness and you can just settle in.”

Dempsey’s return to Le Mans is being featured in a four-part miniseries premiering Wednesday, August 28 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on the Velocity network in the United States. “Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans” has been over two years in the making, is affiliated with Discovery, and will be distributed internationally. The documentary focuses on Dempsey’s connection to preceding Hollywood race car drivers Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and James Garner as well as the on and off-track travails of getting to Le Mans.

Dempsey and Foster are making their second-career Le Mans appearance after a ninth-place finish in 2009 in a GT2 AF Corse Ferrari F430.

“Big picture and operationally we are doing really well,” Foster said. “We have lost the handle a little bit on the car since test days. We missed the balance a bit so we worked on that for today. Both Patricks got in all the laps they need to qualify for the race last night but I only had two laps in the day and just an out-lap at night. We have four hours of track time Thursday, however, so I am not worried about it.”

“It’s been a long journey to get back here,” Dempsey said. “Our last race was in 2009 which was an extraordinary experience in my life and Joe’s as well. It’s a remarkable event, steeped in history, it’s the 90th Anniversary running this year and it is a beautiful thing to be here for that milestone.”

The Dempsey Del Piero Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR team, with Long at the wheel, turned the third fastest overall lap during official pre-race Le Mans Testing two weeks ago, trailing only the pair of GTE-AM class-leading Aston Martins. The No. 77 Porsche team practiced in the GTE-AM top 10 on Wednesday.

“We are not up where we want to be on the board but that’s out of our hands,” Long said. “It was sort of a screwy four hours of practice on Wednesday with changing conditions. We took the conservative approach. We wanted to baseline the car before we put on new tires for some qualifying runs but just got caught out with a few yellow flags.”

Long is America’s only factory Porsche driver and a two-time GT winner at Le Mans. He won in his debut in 2004 and picked up a second class victory in 2007.

The Dempsey Del Piero Racing Le Mans entry is being fielded in a partnership with the experienced and proven Proton Competition racing team from Germany.

The 90th Anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans goes green Saturday June 22 with live flag-to-flag coverage in the United States on SPEED and SPEED.com.

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