Between forming a new ALMS GTC team with lawyer/driver Michael Avenatti this season and dissolving that partnership in recent weeks under contentious circumstances, Patrick Dempsey's season has been filled with more off-track drama than expected. The next step for the actor/driver is to secure Dempsey Racing's future by selecting the right car for the 2014 United SportsCar Championship, finding sponsors and possibly adding new partners to the program.
As the 47-year-old told RACER, completing those primary tasks has been especially difficult while dealing with a technical information void.
“It's particularly difficult now because the rules package has not been released,” Dempsey told RACER. “I've been talking to several other owners and everyone is becoming very, very frustrated that we don't have the rules package so we don't quite know what to do. There are several different choices that we want to make but until we know for sure what's going to happen we can't pull the trigger.
“And then this becomes another snowball effect because you can't prepare to be prepared for testing. So you need the time to get everything prepared for Daytona and Sebring and we're running out of time because we're – what? – two months away from November tests?”
Without a chosen car and class, Dempsey has also been unable to sign a full slate of sponsors to fund his program but says progress is being made.
“We'll move forward on certain sponsors that we know will be our foundation, our anchor sponsor; but to bring in partners that will work with them, that takes time,” he added. “And once again, we're always up against the time. So we're not in any better or worse position than last year, maybe a little further ahead. But, yeah, that's the challenge.”
A variety of manufacturers have been mentioned as candidates to join Dempsey Racing next season, and staying with Porsche is also a solid option. At this point, Dempsey can confirm his team will return in 2014 and the specifics behind those plans could be known before the ALMS/WEC event at Circuit of The Americas draws to a close.
“Oh yeah, we'll absolutely be back,” he confirmed. “It just depends on how big the program will be. We'll definitely have a presence, no question about it. We really have a strong desire to return to Le Mans. We're hoping to have an announcement by the end of the weekend if everything goes all right. We'll see. So we have a lot of talks going on right now.”