Los Angeles — Ten seasons is a long time to be on a TV show, so Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey has turned to auto racing to recapture the challenge and excitement he no longer gets from acting on the ABC drama
Dempsey, who is the subject of the four-part series Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans, which premieres on Velocity on Aug. 28 at 10 p.m., told reporters at the TCA press tour on Thursday that the passion he feels for racing is much different than that he has for acting.
“Racing is a constant discovery,” he said. “When you’re in a long show, it’s less discovery and more of an endurance to find ways to do you job. It doesn’t change. Racing is constant change. Then I can go back to work and enjoy it. I think I need both.”
Dempsey did say that the Grey’s producers have been great about giving him time off to race. And while the threat of crashing is always there, he said he doesn’t think about it, though he knows that those at the show probably do.
“The fact that they let me race is remarkable,” he said. “I don’t think people understand quite what I’m doing.”
The series will feature interviews with Dempsey and other members of his team and the racing community, plus lots of archival footage that’s never been seen before on the history of Le Mans and footage of Steve McQueen, another famous actor turned racer. The first episode will introduce Dempsey, his race team and the notion of actor to racer; the second will be about the struggle to fund racing, and what happens when you don’t find the money; the third will show the rebirth of the team in a new car, and the final episode will be all about the racing the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I had no idea how long 24 hours was until you try to film it,” said showrunner Jon Watkins. “It was a really incredible challenge.”