Three of the 62 cars on the grid represent Dempsey Proton Racing, including the #77, last year’s LMGTE Am class winner.
Yes, Dempsey, as in Patrick. The American actor is co-owner of the FIA World Endurance Championship team. Alongside his acting career – which has seen him star in Grey’s Anatomy, Transformers 3, Bridget Jones’ Baby and recently the television miniseries The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Dempsey pursues his keen interest in endurance racing.
He drove a full WEC season in 2015, achieving second in class at Le Mans 24 Hours and victory at the 6 Hours of Fuji. But his interest in racing doesn’t stop at driving. A true team player, he enjoys the camaraderie among crew members, the challenge, the esprit de corps. Always the first to laud the merits of the group as a whole, he is also very knowledgeable about the history of his chosen sport. He recently produced Hurley, a superb documentary about fellow Porsche aficionado, three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Hurley Haywood, the Grand Marshal of this year’s race. Dempsey defends the values of endurance racing in the best possible manner, by setting an example. His contribution to the present and the future of our discipline is highly appreciated.
On 15 and 16 June, expect to see Patrick Dempsey trackside, eyes glued to the screens, following his team’s progress as the 24 Hours of Le Mans unfolds. His dedication and enthusiasm have earned him the 2019 Spirit of Le Mans award.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest : “This year we are delighted to have elected Patrick Dempsey as Spirit of Le Mans. When he first took part in the race in 2009, it was as an amateur driver. He has come a long way since then, thanks to his hard work, his ability to concentrate on the task in hand, the way he soaks up advice and his absolute determination. This has made him a hardened competitor, as well as a racing enthusiast, a gentleman, full of humility, always eager to highlight the achievements of others and to encourage young talent. That is the Spirit of Le Mans.”
After Test Day, the next red-letter day in the run-up to the race is Scrutineering, on 9 and 10 June in Le Mans city centre.