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ACO Confirms JDC-Miller, Keating IMSA Auto-Invites

JDC-Miller Motorsports, Ben Keating confirmed as IMSA auto-invites to 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

The ACO has confirmed that JDC-Miller Motorsports and Keating Motorsports have received the IMSA-nominated auto invites to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As expected, both teams have been awarded the entires courtesy of winning IMSA’s Trueman and Akin awards, for the highest-placed Pro-Am driver in the Prototype and GT Daytona classes in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Mikhail Goikhberg teamed with Stephen Simpson for multiple overall podium finishes in JDC-Miller’s No. 85 Oreca 07 Gibson, with Keating and co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen taking their Riley Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a runner-up finish in the GTD class championship.

Goikhberg’s invite transfers directly to JDC-Miller’s planned Le Mans debut in LMP2, with Keating understood to be able to use his invite for GTE-Am.

The Texan utilized his invite last year to a field a Riley Mk. 30 Gibson in LMP2, although Keating has since sold the car to BAR1 Motorsports.

The complete entry list for the French endurance classic will be revealed on Feb. 9.

JDC Finalizing Le Mans Plans

JDC-Miller team principal John Church says they are still finalizing details for its Le Mans effort, including drivers and sponsorship.

The Minnesota-based team announced Monday a new partnership with GAINSCO Auto Insurance, which will sponsor one of its cars in the WeatherTech Championship next year.

“At this point we’re still working through the whole Le Mans entry but we anticipate utilizing that and participating at Le Mans next year,” Church told Sportscar365.

“Some of the details have not yet been talked about yet. We certainly have a few other people [in addition to GAINSCO] that’s interested in that program as well.

“At this point we plan to be there.”

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

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Jack

    December 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Gainsco to Le Mans or… banana boat?

  2. Kyle

    December 18, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Any word on if Scuderia Corsa are aiming for an at-large bid?

    • Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

      December 18, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Kyle last I read they were. Read an article a few weeks ago that Jeff Segal has rejoined them and has his eyes on the team being invited back.

      • Louis

        December 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm

        If they won in AM this past year they already have 1 auto invite

        • Kyle

          December 18, 2017 at 4:43 pm

          JMW won this year, so they’re going. Although they also have one from the ELMS, so maybe Scuderia Corsa could link up with them for one of those as a last resort. It’s going to be tight for a lot of the LMP2/GTE-Am teams this upcoming year.

      • Kyle

        December 18, 2017 at 4:42 pm

        Duh. Totally forgot about that.

  3. SaskRacer

    December 19, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Curious- why is Christina Nielson not eligible for the Akin award? I’m a Ben Keating fan (being a long time Viper fan), but last year he got an invite in LMP2 without turning a wheel in the class before the invite and now they skip the GTD champion to give the runner up an auto invite? There must be a reason, I’ve just never heard what that reason is.

    • John Dagys

      December 20, 2017 at 10:14 am

      AFAIK, drivers have to register for it. It’s not an automatic thing. That could be the reason why Christina didn’t win it this year. She, however, did win the Akin award in 2016, which gave her an entry to Le Mans this year.

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