Patrick Dempsey Talks Balancing Grey's Anatomy Gig & His Need For Speed

Patrick Dempsey is temporarily ditching his scrubs for a new documentary series for Velocity channel – “Patrick Dempsey: Racing LeMans,” which documents the actor and his team at the 24-hour race — and he couldn’t be happier.

“I just love it. I’ve loved it since I was a kid,” the actor told reporters on Thursday during Day 2 of the Television Critics Association Summer Tour in Beverly Hills, of his passion for the sport of racing. “There is something that is – you’re really testing yourself. You’re going into your own fears and anxieties and you have to test yourself physically and mentally. And I think that’s what I like about it. And certainly the sense of fellowship and camaraderie is really what I love most.”

Patrick’s new series premieres on August 28 on Velocity, and he said he was thankful that the folks at ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” where he plays Dr. Derek Shepherd, were so accommodating.

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“I think the show does a remarkable job in getting me out. The producers are fantastic. The fact that they let me race is remarkable,” he said. “After they see this, I hope they continue to let me race…. But I don’t think people quite understand what I’m doing, honestly. But I can’t thank ‘Grey’s enough. They’ve been amazingly supportive.”

The actor clearly has a need for speed, and he values the opportunity to get out of Seattle Grace.

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“I’m an actor, so that’s my profession. That’s my job. It’s a trade, and that’s a different feeling. Racing is a constant discovery and when you’re in a long show, there’s less discovery and more of an endurance of having to be present and to do your job and find ways to keep yourself turned on in something that you know is going to be A,B, and C,” he said. “It doesn’t change. In a race, it changes constantly. Every lap, every corner, every moment of that day is changing, and that, to me is very exciting and keeps me alive. And then I can go back to work and enjoy it. So I think I need both, quite honestly.”

-- Jolie Lash

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