GRAND-AM Road Racing’s merger with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was officially confirmed in a Daytona press conference this morning, and Dempsey Racing’s No. 27 Trina Solar/Drink GNC/Motegi Racing Lola-Judd P2 was one of four representative sports cars on display at the historic announcement.
Dempsey Racing is the only team that runs fulltime programs in both the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series. The effort includes three fulltime sports cars in total, with a pair of VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GTs in the Rolex Series and the Silicon Tech/Dempsey Racing PC team in ALMS. The No. 27 P2 Lola-Judd that was on display at Daytona on Wednesday is also running a partial development season of racing in ALMS this year.
Additionally, Dempsey Racing fields a full-season Mustang program in a partnership with Roger Miller and Miller Racing in the GRAND-AM Continental Sports Car Challenge.
“We are incredibly proud, and at times a little terrified actually, of the incredible multi-team and multi-series effort we are fielding this year," said Dempsey Racing owner and driver Patrick Dempsey, the popular television and film actor. “I am sure Jim France and Don Panoz may be feeling the same way after today’s announcement! It is and will be an amazing feat, it certainly presents another exciting option for us and our partners, and we were honored to be part of the big day with our Trina Solar/Drink GNC/Motegi Racing Lola-Judd on display."
The No. 27’s presence at the press conference could very well have been the first time a currently competing international and ALMS specification P2 race car has ever rolled on to the hallowed ground of Daytona International Speedway. Based on the plans outlined today, P2 will very likely be among the classes competing in the inaugural race for the unified new series when it debuts at the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“We understand the place was packed and that the media turnout was excellent, so it was good to get some new and influential eyeballs on our Dempsey Racing P2 car," said Joe Foster, Dempsey’s co-driver and motorsports business partner. “This was definitely a big and somewhat surprising announcement and we will absolutely stay in tune with what will no doubt be some exciting and interesting developments over the next year. At the end of the day, racing still comes down to cubic dollars and we will add this option to the discussion with our partners."
Dempsey Racing remains committed to its goal of returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans as soon as next year with its P2 effort. Dempsey and Foster anchored a ninth-place GT2 finish in a Ferrari in their Le Mans debut in 2009 and have been determined to get back to the Circuit de la Sarthe ever since.
"For us, it is always about running at the best and iconic tracks on the global motorsports stage and this new merger will certainly provide that for North America," Foster said. "Unifying sports car racing in the United States can only be a good thing. Our hope is that this move generates future stability for American sports car racing, and that there always remains a credible path for U.S. teams to race domestically and abroad with similar machinery. We hope that the future series can include the best of both worlds in terms of venues and operational style."
Next up for Dempsey Racing is the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, September 7 – 9.