Test Weekend a Huge Success
Team Seattle / Dempsey Racing Gains Momentum
Despite inclement weather and bringing a brand new car to the track, Team Seattle enjoyed an extremely successful three days of testing at the “Roar Before the 24” as the team prepares for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of the month.
The big news is that the Team Seattle #41 Mazda was the fastest GT car in the three days of testing. Driver Leh Keen ran the fastest lap during a Saturday evening session. Keen said, “The car just felt great. I love driving at night and the team had done a great job of setting the car up for a quick run, even though it was freezing.” Temperatures hovered around the 35-degree mark for most of the three-day session. James Gue, also driving the Team Seattle car, was also among the top five on the speed charts. The sister car, Dempsey Racing’s #40 Mazda, was a front runner as well showing significant strength for the team as the race date approaches.
Team founder and driver Don Kitch Jr., is convinced this is one of the best groups ever assembled for Team Seattle. “These have been the most positive and productive test and practice days I have ever experienced in my 14 years of racing with Team Seattle,” said Kitch, as he got ready to return to Seattle and more fund raising activities for Seattle Children’s Hospital. He added, “Not only is our new Mazda RX8 a fantastic race car, the team assembled by our partners, Dempsey Racing, is simply the best.”
Following the close of testing, driver Patrick Dempsey said, “I’m really thrilled with how the team has come along in the offseason and the development of the car. (Race and design engineer) Kirt (Wightman)’s done great job, as have all the guys in the shop. The expansion, having the Team Seattle #41 car now with Leh, James, Don, and Dave (Lacey), it’s a great addition to the team. The chemistry is starting to gel.”
Dempsey’s racing partner Joe Foster was equally as enthusiastic, saying, “It’s a really exciting test for us. This is obviously the first time we’ve ever run two Rolex GT Mazdas together. We had a lot of logistical plans and logistical ideas to test and see how it worked with more people, more cars and more parts. All that for the most part has gone well. We have a few growing pains, but it’s good to have growing pains instead of shrinking pains.”
Adding New Team Members
While the track testing and practice is done until the last week in January, the team is not slowing down. The focus now will be on increasing the fan base for Team Seattle and support for fund raising efforts for the pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “We want as many people riding with us on that car as you can possibly imagine,” said Kitch. “The “Faces and Names” program is already a huge success and when we show up with all of those supporter’s names and pictures on the car, Speed TV and every other media outlet will be watching what we’re doing and talking about the hospital and the city of Seattle.”