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24H Le Mans

Goikhberg, Keating Earn Le Mans Invites with Trueman/Akin Award

Misha Goikhberg, Ben Keating win IMSA Trueman, Akin Awards, 24H Le Mans invites…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

IMSA’s pair of automatic invites to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans have been nominated, with Misha Goikhberg and Ben Keating winning the sanctioning body’s two sportsmen driver awards.

Goikhberg, co-driver of the No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson, ended up with his second consecutive Jim Trueman Award following Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, with Keating securing the Bob Akin Award for a second straight year as well.

Both awards provide auto invites to the 2019 running of the French endurance classic, for use in LMP2 and GTE-Am, respectively.

While Keating has signaled plans to return for a second consecutive year in a Risi Competizione-prepared Ferrari 488 GTE, likely again under the Keating Motorsports banner, Goikhberg’s plans for Le Mans remain undetermined.

Goikhberg and JDC-Miller relinquished its invite for this year’s race due to lack of budget.

In a change for 2019, the winning Trueman/Akin drivers are able to nominate any team, not just limited to those within the IMSA paddock, to run its entry at Le Mans.

“It’s an honor to win the Trueman Award again and I hope next year we can find the finances to compete with JDC-Miller MotorSports at Le Mans,” Goikhberg said.

The Minnesota-based team makes the switch to Cadillac DPi-V.R machinery next year in the WeatherTech Championship, although has its two Oreca LMP2 cars up for sale.

Bennett, CORE Evaluating Le Mans Options

After coming up short for the Trueman Award due to a strategic move to better position the team for the overall Prototype championship, CORE autosport team owner/driver Jon Bennett hasn’t ruled out a Le Mans effort in the future.

Bennett, who made his debut in the Road to Le Mans support race this year, said there are “a lot of different highways and backroads” to the race.

“I think Le Mans is in my future at some point,” Bennett told Sportscar365. “It’s something to think about but it will happen in its own time.”

The Rock Hill, S.C.-based team, which ran two of Porsche’s factory GTE-Pro entries in the race this year, could also opt to submit an entry request on its own.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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