The actor and his team earned a spot on the podium at the Le Mans 24 Hours Sunday

By Peter Mikelbank
June 15, 2015 09:20 AM
David Vincent/AP

It was a dreamy finish for McDreamy.

Patrick Dempsey earned a spot on the podium in one of the world’s best-known auto races after he came in second at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours on Sunday in France.

The 49-year-old actor, who left Grey’s Anatomy earlier this year following his famous character’s demise, shared the victory in the GTE Am category with teammates Patrick Long and Marco Seefried. The team drove a Porsche 911 RSR.

“To be up there is definitely a dream come true,” Dempsey said after the race.

“It s hard to put into words what this means,” he added. “The team did a great job in all the pit stops, and Patrick and Marco just drove beautifully through the whole race and into the night when it was really tough.”

Introduced to the crowd after the race, Dempsey – visibly pumped by his team’s come-from-behind finish – doused his teammates with champagne.

Patrick Dempsey
David Vincent/AP

Dempsey has raced at Le Mans four times. After making his debut in 2009, he finished fourth in 2013 and fifth last year. An experienced driver who has also raced at Daytona, the actor is gearing up to participate in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship series this year, which involves racing on several continents.

Dempsey’s podium win extends a long Hollywood connection with the French race. In 1971, Steve McQueen filmed an entire feature to the race’s challenge, while in 1979, Paul Newman placed second in his category. Like Dempsey, Newman won while driving a Porsche.

Le Mans is a particularly grueling endurance test. It is the crown jewel of European endurance racing, with a large portion – run at top speed – comprising a continuously lapped 8.5-mile circuit during nighttime.

With over 250,000 fans in attendance at the 83rd edition of the race, Dempsey’s 470-horsepower Porsche 911 team completed 330 laps, earning a dramatic last-hour spot at the podium.

Dempsey is expected to return to the French track next year. Already a popular figure with racing fans and autograph seekers, Dempsey, in a separate ceremony Friday evening, was named “Ambassador of Le Mans 2016.”