Ben Keating is again planning to contest dual series programs featuring both LMP2 and GTE-Am machinery next year, with an eye on ‘closing the chapter’ in a GTE-spec car in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Bronze-rated Texan, who is coming off class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE, told Sportscar365 that he intends to continue in the production-based class next year in the WEC, alongside a return to the LMP2 ranks of the IMSA WetherTech SportsCar Championship.
Keating, who currently leads the WEC GTE-Am championship, won last year’s season-long IMSA LMP2 title although has scaled back to a Michelin Endurance Cup-only program this year.
“I don’t have anything figured out for the future but my guess is that I’ll continue doing what I’ve done this year,” he said.
“Next year is the last year for GTE in WEC. I think I would enjoy doing one last year of the GTE car. I really enjoy racing that car.
“I would like to close that chapter over there.
“For sure, at a minimum, I would expect to see me in a LMP2 back in IMSA for the four long races again, something similar to what I’m doing this year.”
Keating returns to the wheel of the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson for this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen for the first time since the ‘Super Sebring’ weekend where he scored class poles in both the LMP2 and GTE-Am machinery.
“I really feel like I benefit from going between the two different cars,” he said. “The best example I can think of was Sebring, where I was really, really happy with my qualifying in both series.
“That was one of those situations where I learned a lot that I was able to use. In each car, I learned a lot on how to go quickly around that particular track at that particular time and I was able to use it between both cars.
“Especially racing the GTE that doesn’t have ABS, it’s got the confidential tires, which are extremely high grip. You definitely have to drive them differently. But there are a lot of similarities in terms of technique that I benefit from.
“It’s very different from driving a GT3 car where you’ve got the ABS and can just press on the brake pedal as hard as you can and let the computer do the work… That’s a very different experience.
“I really, really enjoy driving both the LMP2 and the GTE car. I’m enjoying it enough that I think that’s what I want to stick with for the next year.
“Then hopefully by this time next year, all the different series will have decided what they’re going to look like in 2024 and I can make the decision for what the future looks like at that point.”