The American Way

Mark Gillies

The Amateur's View
Patrick Dempsey is co-owner of Dempsey Racing, which fields a pair of Mazda RX-8s in the Grand-Am Rolex GT series. The actor, best known for his starring role in TV's Grey's Anatomy, feels that Grand-Am is an ideal place for him and his team.

Do you consider yourself a pro or an amateur?
I count myself as a gentleman driver because of my professional commitments. I look forward to the time I can devote myself full-time to racing, but I guess I need a couple of hit movies to do that!

What's the appeal of Grand-Am to you as a driver and team owner?
I started out in the Koni [now Continental] Challenge, and it was a great way to develop as a driver. I think if you can be competitive here, you can be competitive anywhere. This series is much easier to finance than any other comparable road-racing series -- ALMS is just so much more expensive. We run on a really tight budget and put all the money back into the team, so we don't have a shiny new truck, that kind of thing.

Is this the savior of U.S. road racing?
I think there's much work needed in promoting the series, because people have to identify with the teams and drivers for it to develop. But we are starting to see people come back. I'd like to see us start getting some real personalities involved, perhaps by getting some Nationwide drivers racing when we have a doubleheader with the, as that builds excitement. And I think we also have to think in a green way, like the ALMS. -- MG

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