Patrick Dempsey may be known to millions as McDreamy, a nickname he earned during his 10 seasons playing a hunky neurosurgeon on 'Grey's Anatomy,' but the actor's off-camera exploits deserve a different moniker. McSpeedy makes sense.
Following in the footsteps of more than one leading man before him (think Steve McQueen and Paul Newman), the Maine native is as comfortable behind the wheel as he is in front of a camera. Unlike the vast majority of gearhead actors, Dempsey has actually met with some success on the racetrack, qualifying for the Baja 1000 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The guy knows what he's doing.
Dempsey's most recent four-wheeled adventure took him to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the mother of all endurance races, where he shared Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driving duties with pros Joe Foster and Patrick Long – the team finished a very respectable fourth in class. Dempsey's 15-month journey to the storied French event was documented in a four part series, which premieres Wednesday, August 28 at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery's Velocity network.
When we caught up with McSpeedy and asked him to describe his ideal rides, the perfect pairings of vehicles and roads, he waxed poetic. Here are a few of the gas and electric-powered ways Dempsey daydreams about spending his time out of the hospital.
Parnelli Jones's "Big Oly" Racer in Baja
Dempsey says participating in the Baja 1000 in 2005 gave him a special appreciation for the singular gnarliness of desert racing and resulted in his having a big crush on the beast that is Parnelli Jones's "Big Oly" racer.
The V8-powered, tube framed ride was designed to devour the hairiest terrain, and is an icon of an era when American brawn and ingenuity tackled the most extreme of races.
Credit: © Basem Wasef (from the book Legendary Race Cars)