Riley Motorsports is weighing up its options for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season amid Ben Keating’s unlikely return for a full-time campaign.
The ever-present GT squad, which previously operated the factory Dodge Viper GTS-Rs in the GT Le Mans class, has largely focused on Keating’s customer-based efforts in GT Daytona in recent years.
While nearing the end of a three-year agreement with Mercedes-AMG, and Keating exploring a potential move to the European Le Mans Series, team principal Bill Riley said he’s begun discussions with prospective clients and manufacturers to maintain his team’s presence in the WeatherTech Championship.
“Staying with AMG is obviously a simple choice because of the GS program and the GTD program,” Riley told Sportscar365. “We have a great history and they’re great people.
“But obviously there’s other manufacturers that are talking to me about next year. You have to talk to them and see what’s available.”
The team has recently enjoyed a successful expansion to IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge competition, with a Mercedes-AMG GT4, which won last month’s four-hour race with Dylan Murry, Jim Cox and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
Riley said he envisions that program continuing next year.
“We’re also talking to other potential GTD customers now and reviewing options on that,” Riley said. “We’ve had some good discussions so far with good people too.
“But a lot of it depends on what Ben Keating wants to do. We’d really want to make sure that we do a good program with Ben, if we have that possibility.”
Keating told Sportscar365 that he was undecided on his plans for next year, although has given notice to both Riley and longtime co-driver Bleekemolen to explore other opportunities.
Riley admitted the challenging driver market in GTD, noting the length of the ten-round season has been a stumbling block for many gentlemen drivers looking to enter the championship.
“I think it’s a tough environment for a gentleman driver to come over here because it’s too many races,” he said.
“That’s the problem. It’s too much like a job for these guys that are working their normal deal. That’s one of the biggest problems Ben has; there’s just too many races.”