Dempsey Racing Lola B12/87

Actor Patrick Dempsey is no stranger to racing. After his wife sent him to a three-day Skip Barber driving school, the actor fell in love with road racing has gone on to compete in Grand-Am for the last several years. McDreamy even got the chance to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009, finishing in 9th in the GT2 class behind the wheel of a Ferrari F430 GT.

After getting a taste of Le Mans, Dempsey now has aspirations to return to the legendary endurance race, but this time with his own team and his own car. At the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this year, Dempsey Racing announced that they would be fielding a car in the P2 class for part of the 2012 ALMS season with the eventual goal of competing at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Dempsey and his team took the first steps towards their Le Mans goal this past weekend by debuting their new V8-powered Lola B12/87 race car in the P2 class at the six-hour ALMS race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This was Dempsey's first time driving a modern prototype race car, and he admitted there would be a steep learning curve.

"It feels familiar but so much more intense – the braking, the acceleration, cornering and power, it is all on a much more dynamic level than the GT cars I have driven," Dempsey said after a practice session with the car. "It's an amazing machine and it is incredible to even have the opportunity to race in a car like this at this level, and what better track to start with than Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca."

Dempsey and his team eventually finished 30th overall and fourth in class – not bad for a brand new team with a rookie driver. They plan to compete in several more races this year and will be running the full ALMS season in 2013.

You can see photos of the Dempsey Racing Lola B12/87 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the gallery above.