Saturday, 11 April 2015

Lights.. Camera.. Action

Those of you who have been at Le Mans over the last couple of years couldn't failed to have noticed the 'Patrick Dempsey Factor'. As far as the media was concerned his PR machine made sure he was everywhere and it became a nuisance!  But he freely admitted he needed the money to race and would do whatever was required.

We had a go at doing a blog on famous film stars who raced at Le Mans and then expanded it to any film stars who raced anything..anywhere! There wasn't enough meat in the project so we gave up!

Dempsey now has a serious motor sport track record as well as impressive 'actoring' credentials which mean we can now begin to think of him as one of 'The Big Three'... McQueen, Newman and Dempsey.

McQueen finished 2nd in the 12hrs of Sebring. This meant that one of his dream could perhaps  become viable, a run at Le Mans sharing a car with Jackie Stewart. However precious film stars need substantial insurance and nobody came up with suitable cover so it never happened. Instead he went and made 'Le Mans' which premiered in 1971. It was not a box office success but Le Mans fans loved it! (..and still do! ed.)

Paul Newman came into motorsport by a slightly different route . He starred  in 'Winning' which was shot at the Indianapolis 500. He caught the bug big time and eleven years later he finished 2nd at Le Mans and went on to become a successful team owner.

Dempsey at WEC autograph session
Dempsey was a huge hit in an American TV series called 'Grey's Anatomy' attracting a massive (mostly) female following... his first visit to Le Mans was in 2009 and the public wouldn't let him simply get on with racing motor cars.. they wanted all of him! He wanted to concentrate on the business of racing. In 2011 he was entrusted with taking the Mazda 787B out on track for a high speed demonstration run. He raced in ALMS in 2012 in a Lola and eventually returned as a serious racer to Le Mans in 2013 where he finished 4th and then 2014 when he came 5th. He is now a team owner  and at 49 years old he still has very bright future as a serious ' Gentleman Racer'. His movie career might not yet match that of McQueen and Newman but his skills as  driver and team owner put him in that elite group.


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