Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford has issued a statement on the exclusion of the No. 85 Keating Motorsports Ford GT, stating that it was “disappointing” to see their GTE-Am class victory taken away by the “thinnest possible margin.”
The Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga-driven Ford was disqualified following post-race scrutineering on Monday when officials found the car’s fuel capacity exceed the maximum by 0.1 liter, while also being 0.6 seconds quicker refueling stops than the 45-second GTE-Am mandate in the race.
Ford, the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, was in the Keating Motorsports pit in the closing laps of the race to congratulate Keating, who is a third-generation Ford dealer and first customer race team with the Multimatic-built GTE contender.
“We at Ford are very proud of Ben Keating and the Keating Motorsports team for all they accomplished at Le Mans,” said Ford.
“I was at the race and saw first-hand their professionalism and was thrilled by their win in the GT Am class.
“Ben and his team overcame some tough moments and delivered an incredible result.
“To have that taken away from them based on the thinnest possible margin of error is disappointing, but they can leave Le Mans with their heads held high.”
Ford ended its four-year factory run at Le Mans with fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes in the GTE-Pro class, following the No. 68 Ford GT’s disqualification, also for exceeding fuel capacity.
Keating, meanwhile, has vowed to return to Le Mans next year to prove that its result, which he believes was not influenced by the fuel system infractions, “wasn’t a fluke.”