Dempsey Racing on Top-10 Pace and Fastest Mazda Friday in First Day of Testing At Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 7, 2012) – Dempsey Racing and the No. 41 FishingCapital.com/Bass 2 Billfish Mazda RX-8 GT, with Charles Espenlaub at the wheel, were the quickest Mazda in testing Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) where the team clocked in a competitive 10th fastest overall in the GT class on the 2.534-mile Brickyard road course.
The special two-day test, which concludes this afternoon, is being held in preparation for the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Friday, July 27, during Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard. Despite near-record temperatures that at times edge over 100 degrees this weekend, Dempsey Racing took full advantage of the track time Friday with Espenlaub, his full-season co-driver Charlie Putman, and their Dempsey Racing teammate Tom Long all driving the FishingCapital.com Mazda.
The No. 41 ran competitively in the first two sessions of the day but Espenlaub turned the top-10 overall flyer in the third and final practice late Friday afternoon. His lap time of 1:33.280 (97.796 mph) also ranked eighth fastest in the third practice session.
“It’s incredible to be at Indy,” Espenlaub said. “Driving over the famous strip of bricks at the start/finish line in our VISIT FLORIDA Mazda Friday morning was a dream come true. We worked on learning the track and optimizing the setup for the race at the end of the month. We are also using this test as a recon for Joe and Patrick, who are running the Dempsey Racing P2 car at Lime Rock this weekend, so our number one go-to-man and teammate Tom Long got in some laps and provided some valuable input. We also recorded a lot of in-car video to get them up to speed for the big race.”
Team owner Patrick Dempsey, and his co-driver and motorsports business partner Joe Foster, are racing in this weekend’s ALMS race at Lime Rock Park but are scheduled to compete in the Brickyard Grand Prix in the team’s sister No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GT. Long is the designated stand-in driver for Dempsey in the event the popular Hollywood actor is a last-minute cancellation for any race. Like Espenlaub, Long is making his first racing visit to the famous IMS facility.
“It was really generous of the Dempsey Racing guys to let me in the 41 Bass 2 Billfish car,” Long said. “It is really an honor to be here at Indy and to be able to bring sports cars to what is dominantly known as an open-wheel track. I think the fans are really going to enjoy what they see from a couple of different perspectives. The variety of cars as well as the number of cars in both GRAND-Am Road Racing series should keep them interested.”
Long arrived at IMS early Friday morning to promote VISIT FLORIDA and Dempsey Racing in a live interview on ABC Indianapolis affiliate WRTV-6.
“You absolutely can feel that this city is built on motorsports,” Long said. “It is really special to be here with as many fans and the media that are focused on the event and the excitement of the Super Weekend.”
Testing for the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix concludes this afternoon at IMS. The No. 41 FishingCapital.com/Bass 2 Billfish team continued its strong weekend performance as the top Mazda RX-8 GT in Saturday morning practice, improving to an overall team best lap time of 1:32.434 (98.691 mph). The lap ranked seventh fastest in the morning practice session and ninth fastest overall in the weekend’s combined practice rankings.
About Dempsey Racing: A fulltime and year-round enterprise, Dempsey Racing (www.dempseyracing.net) is a professional sports car auto racing team based in the greater Atlanta area in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Owned by actor/driver Patrick Dempsey, the team races in support of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing (www.dempseycenter.org) in Dempsey’s hometown of Lewiston, Maine, and the Team Seattle Guild (www.teamseattle.com) to benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital Heart Center (www.seattlechildrens.org).
About Dempsey Racing’s Partners: Dempsey Racing (www.dempseyracing.net) is an official Mazda (www.mazdausa.com) racing team and has competed exclusively in Mazda RX-8 GTs in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series since 2007. A primary partner for the Mazda program is VISIT FLORIDA (www.VISITFLORIDA.com), the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, and its www.ShareaLittleSunshine.org and www.FishingCapital.com promotional programs, and the television show Bass 2 Billfish with Peter Miller. Additional Dempsey Racing partners include Trina Solar (www.trinasolar.com), a leading manufacturer of high-quality solar photovoltaic (PV) modules that deliver reliable, environmentally-friendly power to homes and businesses and value to customers, and Specialized Bicycle Components (www.specialized.com), a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of technically advanced bicycles and related components. New partners for 2012 include GNC Beverages (www.drinkGNC.com), built upon the 75 years of nutrition innovation from the leader in sports nutrition, Motegi Racing (www.motegiracing.com), a leading manufacturer of competition and high-performance tuning wheels designed and engineered for performance, Racing Electronics (www.racingelectronics.com), the number one source for professional race communications worldwide, and Silicon Tech Racing (www.silicontechracing.com) which provides high-tech corporations a dedicated marketing platform through sports car road racing focused on technology executives.
Photo: Margie Gerard