Ben Keating is considering scaling back his driving commitments to a single series in 2022 following an ambitious dual FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign that has ‘taken a lot out of him’ this year.
The Texan, who is competing in his seventh consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of his full-season WEC campaign with TF Sport, is also driving for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports in the WeatherTech Championship, where he currently leads the LMP2 points standings.
Due to no clashing IMSA LMP2 events with the WEC schedule, Keating is the only driver slated to complete both seasons in full this year.
“I am enjoying it although it’s taken a lot out of me in terms of my time,” he told Sportscar365. “I don’t know if I want to do it again. It’s a lot of time away from the office and home.
“We’ll see. I think I’ll end up doing about 15 races this year but any time I do a race overseas it’s a bigger time commitment.
“Most of them are at least a week. [Le Mans] is ten days. Monza was ten days because I chose to race two weekends in a row. Bahrain will be almost two weeks.
“It’s a bigger time commitment. I’m loving it, don’t get me wrong. I have nobody to blame but myself and I’m very much enjoying it.”
The 49-year-old said he’s particularly enjoyed his time in LMP2 this year due to IMSA’s Bronze-rated driver mandate that has pitted him up against fellow gentlemen drivers in the closely-fought title race.
It is a similar structure to GTE-Am in the WEC, which also requires at least one Bronze driver per lineup.
“I’m really loving the LMP2 class in IMSA and I really love the GTE-Am class in WEC,” Keating said. “I’m enjoying each one of these classes better than I did with GTD.
“Hopefully [this] week they announce the [WEC] schedule for next year and at that point in time I’ll get out my calendar and see which one works well.
“I can go from doing both to doing WEC and the IMSA Endurance Cup. There’s a bunch of different versions of what I can do but it’s going to depend on the schedule.
“In my personal life, I have a bunch of things that I cannot miss next year. I think it mostly comes down to how the [WEC] schedule meshes with my personal schedule.”
Keating: Aston Martin Suited to Le Mans
Keating is hopeful of securing an elusive Le Mans class victory this year in his Aston Martin Vantage GTE entry he’s sharing with Felipe Fraga and Dylan Pereira in the GTE-Am class.
“I feel like in any 24-hour race, every car is a long shot because there’s so many different things that can happen,” he said. “But one of the reasons why I was excited to be in an Aston Martin this year is because I think [it’s well-suited at Le Mans].
“Every car likes different tracks. As difficult as the Aston Martin was in Portimao, I think the Aston Martin really likes high-speed corners and therefore it really likes Le Mans.
“I’m expecting that the car likes Terte Rouge, Indianapolis, the Porsche Curves, so I’m hopeful that we’ll have a good car. I know we have a great team of drivers. I think we’ve done everything we can to prepare to have a good race.”
He said with Aston not having any factory cars in GTE-Pro this year, the level of support has increased from the British manufacturer, which has four customer entries in the class.
“It’s interesting. We’ve gone from the Ford to the Porsche to the Aston Martin now. All of them are just a little bit different. They require different things and the factories are set up differently for support.
“I would say this year has been nice from my perspective as a GTE-Am driver in that they don’t have the Pro cars this year. Therefore they’re throwing all of their support behind GTE-Am.
“It’s nice. They’ve got lots of information and data from many years of racing this car.
“We are the top class for that manufacturer this year. That means we get the best support. They want to see us do well.”