A relaxed weekend of motorsport with unparalleled access to drivers, pits and race cars
Hollywood actor and race car driver Patrick Dempsey will join thousands of New Zealanders at next year's Leadfoot Festival on the Coromandel Peninsula.
The festival is hosted by New Zealand motorsport veteran Rod Millen, and features a mix of classic cars, vintage motorcycles and motorsport legends from around the world.
Competitors are hand-picked by Millen, who hosts the event with his wife Shelly, on Waitangi weekend in February.
Dempsey is best known for his role as Dr Derek Shepherd on the long-running television series Grey's Anatomy. The character was killed off in the series earlier this year, giving Dempsey more time to devote to motorsport.
The actor has competed in prestigious pro-am motorsport events such as Le Mans, the Baja 1000, and his team currently races two Porsche 911 GTs in the Tudor United Sports Car series in the United States.
"Coming off a podium finish at the 2015 24 hours of Le Man, we are delighted to have Patrick as our guest at Leadfoot," said Millen.
The 400-hectare coastal estate features a mile-long driveway that winds through the property, which is designed to be the perfect hill climb.
While Millen chooses the competitors, the festival is open to the public, and includes a collection of static celebrated vintage cars and motorbikes to line areas of the paddocks.
The festival format is based on the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed held in Britain each year, and the idea is visitors get to see the hillclimb, pit areas and competitors close-up.
"The festival is designed for men and women, boys and girls," says event director Shelly Campbell.
"Visitors are invited to dress in period style clothing stepping back in time making the festival an incredible family experience and a true celebration of motorsports and all things automotive."
She says guests would be given "one of a kind" experiences featuring unparalleled access to the drivers, pits and race cars.
It is not yet known what car Patrick Dempsey will be driving at the festival, but his racing team is strongly backed by Porsche.
Tickets to the festival went on sale this week, at www.leadfootfestival.com.