Dempsey Del Piero Racing could have a slightly different look this weekend at Baltimore, as SPEED.com has learned that Patrick Dempsey and business/racing partner Michael Avenatti have parted ways, effective immediately.
The Hollywood actor/racer, who is in the spotlight this week for the debut of his new four-part “Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans” TV documentary, has severed ties with Avenatti, whose company had purchased the bankrupt Tully’s Coffee in January.
According to reports from Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the Seattle Times, Dempsey, who identified himself as a “member and manager” of Tully’s, filed a lawsuit against Avenatti, the owner of Global Baristas, last week. In the suit, Dempsey claimed Avenatti borrowed $2 million against Tully’s assets without telling him, rather than fully financing the coffee chain as originally promised.
The dispute has now reached Dempsey’s team, which Avenatti had also been a partner of. The California attorney, who helped bring Italian soccer star Alessandro Del Piero into the mix, had been slated to drive a full season in the American Le Mans Series but the team’s No. 10 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car had not raced since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May due to Avenatti’s “business commitments.”
Despite Avanetti’s exit, SPEED.com can confirm the team will continue under the Dempsey Del Piero Racing banner for the remainder of the ALMS season, with the name reverting to “Dempsey Racing” in 2014.
It’s unclear what livery the No. 27 Porsche will be in this weekend. The car had previously carried Tully’s logos, although Dempsey’s entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, run in partnership with Proton Competition, was unsponsored.
“While we are all proud of our performance this season at DDPR, Michael and I have decided that Michael no longer will be involved in DDPR,” Dempsey said in a statement provided to SPEED.com.
“We are really enthusiastic about the rest of the season with Andy [Lally] and me at the wheel. Joe Foster and I are excited for the return of Dempsey Racing for the 2014 season, and hopefully another run at Le Mans.”