LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 1, 2013) – Accomplished racer and Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey will return to off-road racing competition later this month in the General Tire Mint 400, March 20 – 24, where he will drive in the Zero One Odysseys Desert Challenge class.
Dempsey is a veteran of Baja 1000 competition but has spent the last few years in the top levels of sports car road racing in North America and beyond. Last year was a busy race season of competition that saw Dempsey drive a prototype Lola-Judd in the American Le Mans Series, a Mazda RX-8 GT in GRAND-AM as well as a Maserati and Aston Martin. He will make his debut race in a Dempsey Del Piero Racing Porsche GT3 with co-driver and motorsports business partner Joe Foster and new teammate Andy Lally in two weeks at the 12 Hours of Sebring, just one weekend before his return to off-road action in the Mint.
“I am really looking forward to the Mint,” Dempsey said. “The history of the Mint 400 is great, I will be able to get more seat time and the Zero One cars are great when it comes to really working on your car control. It’s always a fun event in those cars, they are a blast, I have run them a few times in the Baja 1000 and it is just one more opportunity to drive something different that helps your ability to adapt quickly in any conditions.”
The General Tire Mint 400 is the oldest, roughest, most spectacular off-road race in North America. It was started in 1967, and is steeped in American lore, as thousands of racers as well as celebrities from around the world have attempted to tame the brutal Nevada desert.
With over 300 race teams, 20 classes of vehicles, and more than 20 thousand spectators, the Mint 400 is currently the biggest off-road race in the world. Now owned by The Martelli Brothers, The Mint 400 is part of the Best in The Desert Off-Road Championship.
“The car control really translates over to road racing,” Dempsey said. “The off-road cars are so loose and there is so much travel in the suspension that it really gives you a lot of comfort ability when getting used to a car that is loose in any kind of racing.”
Dempsey will join the ranks of other racers and Hollywood icons that have competed in the Mint 400. The illustrious list includes Parnelli Jones, Al Unser, Rick Mears, Rodger Ward, Mickey Thompson, Ivan Stewart, Walker Evans, Robby Gordon, Rod Hall and Dempsey’s fellow actors Steve McQueen and James Garner.
The Mint 400 adventure will also be followed by a documentary crew for Discovery. For the last year, they’ve been capturing Dempsey on and off the track as he prepares for his return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 2009 this June. The show will air in four parts in August and will weave Dempsey’s story with the history of other “racers that act” like McQueen, Garner and Paul Newman.