Encouraging Test Has Dempsey Racing Set For Success in Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix with VISIT FLORIDA Mazdas
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2012) – Following an encouraging test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) earlier this month, Dempsey Racing and its pair of VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GTs are set for success in the historic inaugural running of Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix on the 2.534-mile IMS road course.
The first featured sports car race to be run at IMS in the legendary facility’s more than 100-year history, the Brickyard Grand Prix, a timed three-hour race, can be seen live on SPEED, this Friday, July 27, at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT, with a scheduled green flag start time of 4:10 p.m. EDT.
Team owner and lead driver Patrick Dempsey co-drives the No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GT with Joe Foster while Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman drive the sister No. 41 FishingCapital.com/Bass 2 Billfish Mazda RX-8 GT. Tom Long, Dempsey’s regular stand-in driver, is entered as a driver on both Mazdas after assisting Espenlaub and Putman in the No. 41 in the two-day Continental tire test at IMS, July 6th and 7th.
"I'm very optimistic headed into Indy this week,” Long said. “Our test in the No. 41 Bass 2 Billfish Mazda RX-8 GT had us as one of the quickest earlier this month, not only among the other Mazdas, but overall in the GT class. The 100-plus degree heat was certainly a factor at the test, and appears it will be again for the race, but I hope this is our breakout event for the No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda. The Dempsey Racing guys deserve it and they've been putting in such an effort all year."
Putman is also looking for good things in the No. 41 Mazda.
“Nothing would be better than posting our best finish of the year on such a famous track, so we will likely just try to stay out of trouble and let the race come to us,” Putman said. “Then again, mechanically leaning on our Mazda a little harder a little earlier on in the race may be just the ticket for this track. We will let our engineer Kirt Wightman and strategist Jim Jordan make the call as the race progresses. We’re ready for some fun!”
Although Dempsey’s busy Hollywood schedule can sometimes force him to miss a race at the last minute, including the Brickyard Grand Prix, he is expected to arrive in Indianapolis in time for Friday’s first on-track session.
“I am really looking forward to the Brickyard, to just racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it is hallowed ground,” Dempsey said. “I have been there several times, even driven the pace car for the 500, but to finally be able to race there and be part of another chapter in Indy’s amazing history is certainly an incredible, awe-inspiring feeling.”
Putman is also impressed by Indy but does see similarities with some of more familiar tracks on the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series circuit.
“The Indy facility itself is impressive just to see in person and getting to drive this historic track is the icing on the cake,” Putman said. “The track itself is not tremendously different than other ‘roval’ type courses, but it is quite fast, probably most similar to Daytona. Unfortunately, the necessarily large gravel traps may tend to cause caution periods if we see a lot of off-asphalt excursions. Since this is the first sports cars race at Indy, we don’t really have historic data to know what to expect in that area.”
At three hours, the Brickyard Grand Prix is the longest sprint race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season. Combining the distance with predicted temperatures once again approaching 100 degrees in the high 90s, multiple driver changes could be the norm in the race. Long is entered in both Dempsey Mazdas and, rules permitting, could very well see action in both cars.
"Indy is a very unique place,” Long said. “With the incredible history the circuit holds, it’s quite an honor to be here racing sports cars with GRAND-AM. Having the challenge of trying to work a road course into an oval, for a ‘roval,’ it’s quite a unique task and layout, especially considering the track has to be changed back to and from an oval a couple of times for the NASCAR guys. As far as our course, a few of the typical values still hold true: It will be difficult to pass, chassis setup with low speed corners and high speed straights will make it tough for teams to strike good balance and the racing is guaranteed to be tight!"
The Brickyard Grand Prix also serves as the final round of the inaugural GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series North American Endurance Championship (NAEC), which is also sponsored by lead Dempsey Racing partner VISIT FLORIDA. In addition to the Daytona Prototype and GT race winners, the three race NAEC “championship in championship” will see its winners crowned during victory lane ceremonies at the conclusion of the Brickyard Grand Prix.
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.