Peter Dempsey Wins Third Walter Hayes Trophy
Irish racecar driver Peter Dempsey won the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy event for the third time this weekend at the world famous Silverstone Circuit in England, matching British driver Joey Foster’s win record and therefore becoming the second ever driver to do so. In the knockout-style racing event with over 120 entrants, the 24-year-old not only won the final, but he also raced his #3 Cliff Dempsey Racing Formula Ford to victory in both his heat qualifying race and his semi-final race.
With the second fastest overall race time and a win in his semi-final, Dempsey qualified second for the 15-lap, 36-car final. A perfect start saw him taking the lead from pole-sitter Wayne Boyd on lap one where he stayed comfortably for the remainder of the race, ultimately crossing the finish line over one second ahead of second-place finisher Ivor McCullough.
“I’m delighted to have won the Walter Hayes Trophy for the third time,” said Dempsey. “My dad’s team has won the event for the last four years, so it makes it even better that I was able to keep his record going by winning it for the fifth. This year was the most competitive Walter Hayes Trophy there’s ever been. A lot of top drivers came back to compete in the event, and to go out and race with such a high caliber of drivers and win the final is a huge achievement for me. We were very lucky just to get out in time for the final, so I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that helped make it happen. I’d also like to thank Paul Walton for giving me the use of his car for the weekend.”
Dempsey’s record-tying win tasted especially sweet after struggling with engine problems and changes up until just a few minutes before the start of the final. With an immense effort from the team (and perhaps a bit of Irish luck), the engine finally roared to life, Dempsey rushed to his starting position on the front row of the grid and the rest became racing history.
“I went out in the race not really knowing what to expect after the engine issues we had,” said Dempsey. “I knew I needed to make a good start, and that’s what I did. After the first three laps, I had settled in to a rhythm, and from there, I drove at my maximum until the end to hold on for win. This is probably the most special win out of the three I’ve had as I’ve had a tough year not racing a full season anywhere due to lack of sponsorship. To come back and finish the year off with this victory is a great feeling. It was amazing to have three great teammates to run with for the weekend. I’d like to thank Cliff Dempsey Racing once again for giving me the opportunity to compete with the team.”
The standout formula car driver won the Walter Hayes Trophy in both 2006 and 2007 with Cliff Dempsey Racing and was awarded the Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year award in 2005 and 2008 for his exemplary racing performances in both Europe and the U.S.A. In 2005, Dempsey raced Formula Ford 1600s and won 33 out of the 43 races that he contested in that season. In 2008, Dempsey moved his career to the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in the U.S.A. finishing third in the championship in his rookie season and second in the championship in 2009.
In October of 2010, Dempsey engaged in a new style of racing, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, with his entry into the World Famous Petit Le Mans 12-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta. As the 2011 racing season approaches, the young talent from Ashbourne, Ireland will look forward to winter testing in the LMP2 car as well as continuing to coach young drivers as they, too, pursue a career in motorsports.