ALMS P2 - Dempsey Racing Continuing To Move Up The Learning Curve
LEXINGTON, Aug. 5, 2012: Dempsey Racing’s partial season of development for its new P2 program in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron continued Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car where Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Dane Cameron co-drove to a fourth-place class-finish in the No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages Motegi Racing Lola-Judd in just the third race for the new effort.
“Basically it was a good day,” said starting driver Foster. “We made the decision to shorten my driving time to get Dane in the car and get us some more feedback in the race. It was a good call. Dane did a super job at the end of the race and gave us an idea of the capabilities of the car, which is definitely a situation where we are getting closer as we develop the car. We just treated the event like an extended test session because we missed the whole test day on Thursday and never really caught up, but it was worth doing and we learned a lot.”No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages Motegi Racing car never took to the track on Thursday’s opening day of practice after the team found and later replaced a leaky fuel cell bladder in the new Lola-Judd.
“Dane being here was really great and the crew did a really good job because we had the Thursday issue with the fuel cell leaking,” Dempsey said. “We didn’t have a lot of seat time prior to the race so we just decided to do as much as possible and do some development during the race. We achieved what we needed to, we were off the pace a little bit, but we knew that, we are learning a lot and it was great to be back here at Mid-Ohio. This is a great series, it’s great to be part of this series and our objective is to be competitive at Le Mans next year and we are working toward that goal. A lot of stuff to build on, a lot of stuff to work, which is why we we’re here.”
The Mid-Ohio race was run in extremely hot conditions that led to an in-race issue that put the Dempsey Racing Lola several laps down at the race finish.
“Patrick got a good hour-long stint in the middle of the race, did great in traffic, but we wasted time in the pits with a bunch of driver changes and really kind of knew that was going to be the case. The car was also running really, really warm, so the fuel was vaporizing in the fuel rail, like a vapor lock, it was just so hot. It took a while to start the car, and we lost some time there, but we got back out and finished again.”
Cameron, who qualified the No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages Motegi Racing car third on the grid on Friday, drove the race’s 40 final minutes and crossed the line in the fourth and final P2-class finishing position. He has played a key role in the testing and development of the new P2 program based in part on his experience in leading his team to the PC class victory in last year’s 12 Hours of Sebring.
“It was really neat, I am really grateful to Joe and Patrick for bringing me in for the weekend,” Cameron said. “I am glad they are keeping me in the loop, I have been a part of this program from its inception, so I am really grateful for the opportunity to do my first race in a P2 car, a lot of fun. Every time we run we learn more, and more, and more about what the car likes and what we need, we made some good gains, and got within a few tenths on race day of the class-leading car. It was logistically challenging to get three guys through the car but it was the best thing to do to move the program forward.”
Next up for Dempsey Racing in the American Le Mans Series is the Road America Road Race Showcase weekend at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin track, August 16 – 18.
“I am looking forward to going back to Road America with that great track, all of the people in town and all of the great fans there,” Dempsey said.
- Learning how to pass slower GT cars, instead of being the driver being passed, is all part of the familiarization process for Dempsey in the step up to the P2 class. “My experience is in GT cars where you are always being overtaken by prototypes,” Dempsey said. “So now in the P2 I am really learning how to setup the GT cars to get by clearly so I don’t interfere with their race and keep my momentum going. We didn’t have a lot of yellow flags, maybe just the one, so I think that is a real testament to the quality of drivers in this series."