Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Jonny Cocker rally to finish debut "test race" in No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages/Motegi Racing/Dempsey Racing Lola-Judd in Saturday's American Le Mans Monterey Presented by Patrón
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 12, 2012) - Dempsey Racing and team drivers Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Jonny Cocker passed their ALMS P2 debut "test race" with flying colors and made it to the finish of Saturday's American Le Mans Monterey Presented by Patrón at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages/Motegi Racing/Dempsey Racing Lola-Judd.
The trio split the six-hour endurance race into three equal parts with team owner and lead driver Dempsey pulling the middle stint between starting-driver Foster and Cocker who was slated to take the Lola-Judd to the finish.
Dempsey Racing entered Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca only after an encouraging shakedown run last week at Miller Motorsports Park and considered today's six-hour race an extension of that successful test. The team took delivery of the new Lola B12-80 Coupe just two weeks ago and was in position for a podium finish Saturday despite adhering to its test-oriented race strategy. Cocker was in third place and turning competitive laps only to have the Lola suffer a broken half shaft one hour from the finish.
"A half shaft broke, unfortunately, but the guys fixed it and we got back out there and kept it on track to the finish," Dempsey said. "For where we were with a new car, you really couldn't ask for a better experience. It's just unfortunate we had that break but I was proud of the team. I thought the team did a phenomenal job; the guys did a very, very good job in just two weeks. You couldn't ask for anything more with them, the real credit goes to the team and certainly all of the mechanics. They got us to this race, kept us in it, and we can all be proud of finishing a six-hour endurance race in our very first start."
Dempsey also took a big step in getting more familiar and comfortable with the new Lola-Judd P2 car, his first racing experience in a prototype.
"My confidence is much, much better," Dempsey said. "I drove close to two hours, and did very well in traffic I felt. I still have to work on pace, but I drove as fast as I did all weekend consistently. I felt really good in the car, I learned a lot, a lot to build on certainly, and I really enjoy the car."