Dempsey Del Piero Racing and Andy Lally Take Sebring Pole in ALMS GTC Debut at 12 Hours of Sebring
Dempsey Del Piero Racing arrived in the American Le Mans Series in high-flying style Friday at Sebring International Raceway where Andy Lally stole the pole with a late record lap in the final seconds of GTC qualifying in the No. 27 Tully’s Porsche GT3 he co-drives with lead driver and popular actor Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster.
The No. 27 Porsche will lead the GTC field to the green flag tomorrow, Saturday, March 16, in the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by “Fresh from Florida.” Live coverage of the race begins on SPEED at 10:30 a.m. EDT/7:30 a.m. PDT.
The Dempsey, Lally and Foster No. 27 GT3 is one of two Tully’s Coffee-backed Porsches making ALMS debuts this weekend under the Dempsey Del Piero Racing banner. The new team was formed earlier this year by Dempsey and Italian soccer star Alessandro Del Piero and also includes the sister No. 10 Tully’s Porsche GT3 of Michael Avenatti, Andrew Davis and Bob Faieta.
Davis qualified the No. 10 eighth fastest with a lap time of 2:06.219 (106.672 mph) while Lally was just one spot ahead in seventh place as the 15-minute session was nearly over. Just before the final minute ticked away, however, Lally ripped off a record flying lap time of 2:05.446 (107.329 mph) to give the Tully’s team the pole in Dempsey Del Piero’s very first race.
“We never think a pole is out of the realm of possibilities,” Lally said. “Even though it is a new team, and their first time working on a Porsche, this is a great deal. This is a debut, our new team as Dempsey Del Piero Racing, and the new partnership with Tully’s Coffee. It is wonderful to come out here under pressure against some of the best Porsche drivers on the planet and be able to turn a good time. It was cool.”
Dempsey, an owner and lead driver for the team, will co-drive the full GTC season with Lally. Foster will step in as a third driver for the longer endurance races this weekend at Sebring, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the season-ending Petit Le Mans.
Andy is a hell of a driver,” Dempsey said. “He was back in seventh on that final lap, came in for a tire pressure adjustment in the front and came out and drove one hell of a lap. It is a real testament to his driving ability. I have to thank Porsche. This is our first event with Porsche, so to come out here and get the pole with Tully’s Coffee and Porsche Design is a great way to start the season.
“The crew has been thrashing for the last month,” Dempsey said. “This is a real testament to their commitment and hard work. This is a team sport and these guys did a great job. I am really proud of everybody.”
Avenatti is a lead driver of the No. 10 Porsche and a key partner in the new Dempsey Del Piero Racing collaboration. He will co-drive the full season with Davis with Faieta joining the duo this weekend and likely at the year’s other endurance races.
“I never had any doubts,” Avenatti said. “I think I said the other day that I have a lot of faith in the team and I think that faith has proven itself right today. Andy did a phenomenal job laying down a superhot lap and the crew has done a phenomenal job all week getting this thing ready. My hat is off to Joe (Foster) and the rest of the team for the job they have done. We are pretty excited for this season and this is a great way to start.”
In addition to being a champion driver, Foster manages the day-to-day team operations and is Dempsey’s longtime teammate and motorsports business partner.
“It is certainly a good start for Dempsey Del Piero,” Foster said. “I am just proud of the thrash the guys have done. I think they have taken the car apart and put it back together three times since we got to the track. The crew has really done an amazing job and our engineer Lars (Giersing) and Andy really nailed it in qualifying.”
Race day Saturday begins with a morning warm-up at 8 a.m. before the start of the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by “Fresh from Florida” at 10:45 a.m. EDT. Live coverage of the race begins on SPEED at 10:30 a.m. EDT/7:30 a.m. PDT.
Source: Dempsey Del Piero Racing