Patrick Dempsey: I Have One Big Reason to Stay on Grey's Anatomy

Actor says the ABC drama can be "exhuasting," but racing makes him feel alive

By Jenna Mullins Jul 25, 2013 7:00 PMTags
Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, Grey's AnatomyABC

Patrick Dempsey hit the stage at the TCAs today to promote his documentary series, Racing LeMans, which chronicles the Grey's Anatomy actor's journey to compete in the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. Most fans know that Dempsey has a real passion for the sport, but according to McDreamy himself, his racing career is the biggest, if not the only, reason he has stayed on the ABC drama for this long.

Dempsey admitted while fielding questions that financing his racing career has been the driving force behind staying with the show, because "the more money you have, the faster you go."


"[Racing] is a different type of passion. I'm an actor, so that's my job," he said. "That's my trade. Racing is always a discovery…finding different ways to be turned on. Race is always changing, and that to me is very exciting. And that keeps me alive."

Dempsey and the core cast members of Grey's Anatomy signed on for two more seasons of the ABC tentpole drama back in the summer of 2012, meaning that the upcoming tenth season could be the last for Dempsey (and the show). Even though he said racing is where he truly feels alive, he hasn't taken his decade long Grey's career for granted.

"I'm not necessarily bored with the show. I'm incredibly grateful to have a show that's been on for ten years," Dempsey said. "But I'm not the creator. I'm not the writer. It's a trade, quite honestly. And that's fine. And when you're on the show, coming up on 200 episodes, it's about surviving. There's not a lot of homework. You learn your lines and try to stay present and try not to get caught acting. I'm glad I have the gig, but it's not the same as being in a racecar."

In the Racing LeMans trailer shown before the panel, Demspey and executive producer Rob Corn made several comments regarding the actor using racing to feel fulfilled.

"Patrick's passion is racing. I find Grey's Anatomy to be his hobby," Corn reasoned, while Dempsey talked about the fatigue that stems from running out of creativity on the series.

"You're exhausted from telling the same storyline over and over," he admitted.

Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans premieres on Velocity on Wednesday, Aug. 28. Grey's Anatomy's tenth season is set to premiere Sept. 26 on ABC.