Dempsey Racing has confirmed both its original intent and long-standing rumor it will debut its new P2 class entry in this weekend's American Le Mans Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Team principals Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster will drive alongside Jonny Cocker, the Englishman making his return to the ALMS after racing with Drayson Racing for several seasons, most recently in 2010. The team's No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages/Motegi Racing/Dempsey Racing Judd-powered Lola B12/80 Coupe is the only P2 entry running on Michelin tires.
The team took delivery of the Lola B12/80 Judd only a few weeks ago and built up the car in preparation. It tested with Dempsey and Foster, along with frequent teammate Dane Cameron, in a productive three-day shakedown test this past weekend at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Dempsey took his first laps in the new car on Friday.
“It is nothing short of an awe-inspiring experience in every respect,” said Dempsey, who will be racing a prototype sports car for the first time. “It feels familiar but so much more intense, the braking, the acceleration, cornering and power, it is all on a much more dynamic level than the GT cars I have driven.”
“I think we're all under no illusions as far as the work ahead but I think we have all the ingredients for a very successful weekend,” Cocker added. “It's certainly a huge benefit having experience on our side for the team to speed up the learning process and take the maximum from the package that we have available to us. I'm confident that both Patrick and Joe will be in love with the car by the end of the race!”
Besides the P2 class entry, the team continues with its usual PC class entry driven by full-season drivers Duncan Ende and Henri Richard, plus third driver Ryan Lewis.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Dempsey's Grand-Am Rolex Series team continues with its Mazda RX-8s GTs at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Familiar Dempsey Racing teammates Tom Long and Scott Maxwell will drive the No. 40 Visit Florida/Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GT usually driven by Dempsey and Foster this weekend in New Jersey.
This weekend alone represents Dempsey Racing's biggest weekend of competition to date in the 10-year history of the company, with the dual prototype efforts at Mazda Raceway, the Mazdas in Rolex GT and its Miller Racing Mustang Boss 302R are competing in the Grand-Am event at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J. The complete effort includes five racecars, 12 drivers and dozens of full-time and weekend team, crew and engineering personnel in operation simultaneously on both sides of the country.
A video of the team's preparation building to its debut is below.