Ben Keating will embark on the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season with Team Project 1, having confirmed a full-season program alongside Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga in the team’s No. 57 Porsche 911 RSR.
The Texan, who initially beat the German squad in the 24 Hours of Le Mans before his Ford GT entry was disqualified, confirmed to Sportscar365 that he will make the switch to the globe-trotting championship for a run at the GTE-Am title.
Keating explained that he began talking with multiple teams after finding out his Ford GT entry request, submitted after the FIA’s May 21 deadline, was rejected for the 2019-20 WEC season.
“I talked to a lot of teams after Le Mans,” Keating told Sportscar365. “There aren’t many teams in WEC that are not extremely high quality.
“But Project 1 has proven they’re capable of winning a championship. They really want to try and repeat as GTE-Am champions. That has a high level of value to them because they’re under the impression that this driver lineup will be very strong.
“Enough of variables came together that we all made some sacrifices to be able to put together what we view as a dream team, to make a run at it.”
Keating’s entry features the identical driver lineup from his Ford program in June, in a race that ultimately saw Project 1’s Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti crowned class winners and GTE-Am world champions.
While Bronze-rated Perfetti has retuned to the team in its No. 56 car alongside newcomers Matteo Cairoli and David Heinemeier Hansson, both Bergmeister and Lindsey will not defend their title.
“In a little bit in both directions, I feel like it’s a little like, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them,'” Keating said.
“There’s some of that from my standpoint; there’s some of that from their standpoint. But I think clearly we’re taking the best of all worlds and putting them together in a program to run a full season in WEC with the goal of winning the championship.”
Keating Poised for Michelin Endurance Cup-Only Program
Keating said he currently is working on a return to IMSA competition next year but only in the four Michelin Endurance Cup races.
However, his program is currently unconfirmed.
As reported by Sportscar365 in June, Keating had planned to take a hiatus from full-season WeatherTech Championship competition in 2020.