Yep, that’s Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy posing with the Aston Martin Vantage GT4. He and his mates did good in their inaugural Grand Am race.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) series opener was held at the Daytona International Speedway. Dempsey and Aston Martin’s chief engineer Chris Porritt were sharing the second Vantage and managed to rise from 24th to 14th.
The first car driven by Scott Maxwell and Joe Foster showed encouraging potential by leading the early phase of the race. They qualified in third position and even led the race briefly before finishing in 16th position. Dempsey and Porritt finished 32nd . Not bad results given the crashes, yellow flags and the fact that this was Aston’s Grand-Am debut.
Having completed the demanding Grand-Am race, Dempsey said: “It was a tremendous pleasure to be in an Aston Martin at Daytona. The Vantage GT4 handles and brakes really well and was awesome in the wet conditions at the start. Chris Porritt was a great partner – it would be nice if Aston Martin could bring him back for another Grand-Am race so we could complete our unfinished business from today.”
Snippets from the race:
Foster and Dempsey pitted to make way for Maxwell and Porritt respectively, but not before the #71 Vantage GT4 was hit from behind. The exhaust, which was damaged in the incident, soon began fouling a rear tyre, forcing a long pit stop during which the crew fell down the order as the leading cars completed six full laps. Porritt delivered consistently fast laps in the #71 car for the remainder of the race to climb to 32nd in class.
The lead Aston Martin suffered similar misfortune, meanwhile, when Maxwell was handed a 30 second stop-go penalty for a minor pit stop misdemeanour. Having also dropped down the race standings, Maxwell’s fight back was hampered by several late yellow flag interruptions – his eventual 16th place coming as poor reward for some great racing.