Patrick Dempsey has earned a place in the hearts of millions through his portrayal of Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd during his 11 seasons starring in ABC’s hit drama “Grey’s Anatomy.” But, what earns a place in Dempsey’s heart after all these years? The art of racing.

Dempsey’s passion for motorsport started early and runs in the family—his own father was a team owner, and he vividly remembers watching “The Big Three,” the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix, as a child. He grew up playing with slot cars, and every Friday night he waited for his father to come home with a few new Matchbox cars to add to his collection. He now jokes that his car collection is much bigger and harder to store.

As his love for motorsport grew, it was only natural that he began auto racing and competing in prestigious world class events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Dempsey maintains an extensive sports and vintage car collection and currently co-owns Dempsey-Proton Racing, a Porsche customer racing team. When Porsche Design Eyewear asked him to be their newest brand ambassador—the first for the brand in its nearly 50 year history—Dempsey ecstatically agreed and jumped in the driver’s seat.

The partnership proves to be a natural fit. “After kicking off our brand partnership with Patrick Dempsey this past January, we’ve seen strong growth in Porsche Design Eyewear sales, especially in the United States. In the first and second quarter of 2021, Porsche Design of America, Inc., recorded a significant sales increase in the eyewear category from a year ago,” says Jan Becker, CEO of the Porsche Design Group. “The results are showing that Patrick Dempsey resonates with our existing customers while also exciting new customers. We couldn’t have asked for a better match.”

As a racecar driver, Dempsey understands the importance of wearing comfortable high performance eyewear while behind the wheel. “The first thing I noticed is there is no heavy impact on your nose,” he says. “Not only are the frames so lightweight, but the lenses and the clarity of vision are really important to me so I can read the terrain. You forget you have them on, and you can just be present and drive.”

For the fall/winter 2021 season, Porsche Design Eyewear released its new collection of sunglasses that features its VISION DRIVE lens technology, which provides clear, unobstructed vision while driving. This technology helps to control extreme light conditions and offers impact resistance, hard coating and anti-glare protection. Additionally, there are three VISION DRIVE lens categories each with their own features including a special contrast enhancer effect that improves overall glare protection and noticeably increases the perception of colors and depth—providing clearer vision even during sudden changes between light and shadows while driving.

Dempsey relies on these lenses every day. “It’s the in-between light that’s really good on the transition,” he explains. “The harsh light you know you’re covered, but when you are going into different conditions—that makes a big difference.” VISION DRIVE lenses offer both anti-glare protection, allowing wearers to retain full vision under extreme light conditions and photochromic self-tinting sunglasses that automatically adjust to particular light situations.

“I use their reading glasses as well as the sunglasses,” says Dempsey. “The lightweight quality and really innovative technology that they are using with the materials really applies itself when you’re driving. You don’t want anything that is too heavy on your face—it becomes a bit of a distraction.” He continues, “There’s a lot of movement in something like this, which is nice. It gives you a lot of freedom. The nosepads absorb the vibration, and you get a lot of vibration in a car, depending on the terrain. It’s one less thing to distract you.” Frames in the collection are crafted from premium materials including titanium and ultra-light high-performance polyamide RXP. Design details include ball joint hinge technology, minimalism meets functionality and masculine yet elegant touches.

As for Dempsey’s personal style? “I like a classic frame, but at the same time I like something that’s been tweaked a little bit so it’s innovative,” he says. “So you take an iconic silhouette, and you flip it a little bit with the new technologies, the different materials.” He picks up a new titanium Porsche Design frame and continues, “I like these sunglasses, it’s sort of a classic aviator, yet when you look at it, there are these little detail pieces. It is incredibly lightweight, and there is great flexibility. You need something that is lightweight, that is fashionable, yet it’s durable. That is what’s really nice about this. When you look at it closely, you see the details and the craftsmanship.”

Porsche Design and Dempsey’s partnership seems to have a natural flow that comes from his longstanding relationship with the brand. “It’s nice to have the consistency and the continuity of working together because you start to develop your core team, and the creativity develops from that. I enjoy doing events that highlight the technology and the frames, as well as the social aspect of it. So I’m looking forward to that and some collaborations in the future.”

When asked if he will ever get a seat in one of the design meetings, he laughs and says, “That’s what I keep pushing for. I have a lot of ideas, and we have had a very good conversation about moving forward. I’m excited about that. The design goes hand in hand with the racing and certainly with the street cars and with their fashion. It’s the same attitude as far as innovation, technology, reliability and craftsmanship across the board.”

As an avid Porsche driver and motorsport enthusiast, Dempsey knows that those characteristics are vital for both a successful race or road trip. It is clear that high-performance eyewear maximizes the driving experience, and Porsche Design Eyewear is providing that state-of-the-art situation. With the technology backing these frames best experienced behind the wheel, all you need is a fast car and open road for the perfect drive.■